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My Review of 'Hands of Stone'

A movie based on the famed boxer Roberto Duran. How did it turn out?

Hands of Stone is a little known movie about famous boxer named Roberto Duran. Roberto Duran is already a famous boxer that I'm sure much of the world has heard of, but he's a treasure in his homeland of Panama. This film tackles a lot of issues and pushes a ton of content into the 111 minute run time. It's very ambitious and I commend them for trying to do so much.

Unfortunately, it's a little too much for such a short period of time. This film almost feels like it should have been a TV series. Maybe even a TV series that was turned down so they gave it to writers to condense the content into a single movie. In any case, it seemed as thought they wanted to cram way too much info into one movie. 

Ultimately, this is a movie based on the life of Roberto Duran. It starts out by explaining the history behind Panama and how Roberto grew up; a country under oppression from the United States. This makes sense with the story so this is a must for the plot point to continue. 

Then it goes on to introduce Roberto Duran to an American trainer. I'm okay with the trainer and everything because the trainer is supposed to be an important part of a boxer's life. They have some fun banter here and there so there is a relationship established, but I didn't feel that there was a deep connection with the two characters. It's probably supposed to be written that way but I didn't feel it when I saw the movie. 

To make matters worse, they added some side story about the American trainer. I didn't think this was totally necessary, especially since the movie really isn't about him. I think it might have been because Robert DeNiro was playing this role and they thought they'd give him a bigger role to play. It was unnecessary. 

I think that time and effort could have been placed on some of Roberto Duran's childhood friends and boyhood trainer. That would have been better to make certain aspects of the movie have more impact. There wasn't enough character development for some of these minor characters that were pretty significant to Roberto Duran's life. The movie tries to make them seem significant to Roberto Duran at least but I didn't really feel anything in those scenes because of the lack of character development. 

The big build up is to a fight with Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard. I think the movie did some good things to play up these characters and have us understand the significance of their fight but again there were some issues. I thought that the pacing of the scenes that established their relationship was a way off. It goes a little fast at certain points, probably because they put too much effort in certain story lines that were unnecessary and had to make up for the time. 

Hands of Stone is probably half Spanish and half English. For those that don't like to read subtitles you may be turned off but it's really not that bad. 

Overall, I found the movie informative but because of the weird emphasis to certain characters and pacing issues with the movie, I found that there were weird lulls with this one. I unfortunately have to give this movie a six out of 10. Certain parts of it was entertaining enough so that I didn't fall asleep or shut the thing off altogether. I really wanted to like this one, but because of those issues, I wouldn't really recommend this one to everyone.