Hands Of Stone [2016] ★★½

 hands-of-stone-posterAnother boxing movie is probably the last thing you needed right now, and understandably so. “Creed” and “Southpaw” last year and now “Hands of Stone”, the true story of 1970’s lightweight champ Roberto Duran (a solid Edgar Ramirez), a Panama based boxer who trained hard to get a shot at the world title. His trainer? The Raging bull himself, Robert De Niro, who plays Ray Arcel, the man who decides to help him achieve his goal. If this sounds all too familiar, then perhaps it is. Venezuelan writer-director Jonathan Jakubowicz knows very well that he’s not in the same league as “Raging Bull”, “Rocky” and “Million Dollar Baby”. And yet, his movie gets to you. The credible relationship between Duran and Arcel, as well as the powerful boxing scenes, help distract from the formulaic script. Even when Roberto Duran is being cocky as hell, he keeps you in his corner. That’s worth the price of admission alone.

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