David O. Russell, Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, all working together on one film. Boy would I have loved to been on the set for that. You knew the three would make a great film though, despite whatever went on behind the scenes. And while The Fighter may not be the masterpiece that everyone is making it out to be, it is undoubtedly a very strong film and extremely well acted.
The Fighter tells the true story of two brothers, both boxers. Irish-American Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale) is the pride of Lowell, Massachusetts. Dicky is a boxer, most well known for his fight against Sugar Ray Leonard. Dicky is a has-been though, now his habits include petty crimes and drugs. As Terry Malloy would say, Dicky ‘coulda been a contender.’ Dicky’s brother, Micky (Mark Wahlberg) is also a boxer but hasn’t had any real success. Constantly looking for one more fight just so he can get paid, Micky has a pretty rough life.
With Dicky training him and his mother, Alice (Melissa Leo) acting as his manager, Micky sets off to become a respectable fighter. Problems start to arise when Dicky’s drug habits render him unreliable and Alice starts making bad managerial decisions for Micky, such as booking him in fights he has no shot in, just to get the payday.
Micky’s girlfriend, Charlene, urges him to re-assess his life and consider moving away from his current team (Alice and Dicky) and to find new trainers and managers who can properly prepare him. Micky reluctantly agrees, which causes turmoil within his family. As Micky struggles to try and please everyone, and Alice and Charlene fight over control of his future, he also has to stay focused on his career as he could get a shot at the title sooner than he thinks.
Check out the rest of our original theatrical review for The Fighter.
Complementing the film is the wonderful transfer by Paramount. Dialogue is crisp and clear and every blow packs a punch, giving you the feeling like you were the one who just got rocked by that left hook. The defining thud of the punches ups the intensity and helps draw the viewer in. Every fight scene showcases impressive bass. Engaging environments are also created and can be found in each boxing scene. The sounds of the crowd and other effects lure the ears into being more immersed in the film. While the audio overall is great, the fight scenes are the highlight here and really show off the thunder of the track.
The video boasts deep black levels, stable contrast and great closeups. The image is crisp and offers up fantastic detail. Accurate colours and fleshtones stand out and a suitable layer of grain covers the film giving it that gritty, lived in feel, which suits it. It’s a very solid transfer and while it won’t bulge eyes, it is well done and accompanies the film wonderfully.
Special features include:
- Audio Commentary with Director David O. Russell
- The Warrior’s Code: Filming The Fighter
- Keeping the Faith
- Deleted Scenes
- Theatrical Trailer
- DVD/Digital Copy Disc
Russell offers a terrific commentary. Going well into detail about each aspect of the filmmaking process. The script, casting, production, technical insights etc. He covers it all, and in a very comprehensive manner. I’ve always found Russell to be an interesting filmmaker and I really enjoyed listening to him speak here. Easily one of the best commentaries that I’ve heard in a long time.
The Warrior’s Code is the making of feature here and at half an hour, it’s pretty solid. The cast and crew chat about the film and about the real life people and events that inspired it. In terms of showing the filmmaking aspect it’s not that in-depth but it talks about some other interesting points, like Wahlberg’s training, how Bale was cast, the film’s themes etc. Not the best making of feature but still solid and acceptable for a film of this nature. Keeping The Faith comes in at eight minutes and is a simple look at the Ward and Eklund family members. Not terribly deep or anything but a nice overview for people who may be unfamiliar with the real people that inspired the film.
The Fighter on Blu-Ray is a knockout (pun intended). It’s a compelling tale with some top notch acting. The film does have flaws but they are easily overlooked as you marvel at the impeccable acting. The film looks and sounds fantastic on Blu-Ray and with a few decent features supporting the disc, The Fighter is an easy purchase. Go out and buy it, it was one of 2010’s best and it deserves a place in your collection.
Fantastic acting, a great Blu-Ray transfer and a wonderful commentary track make this a solid package.