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Play It To The Bone (2000)
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Review Date: January 12, 2000
Director: Ron Shelton
Writer: Ron Shelton
Producers: Stephen Chin
Actors:
Woody Harrelson as Vince Boudreau
Antonio Banderas as Cesar Dominguez
Lolita Davidovich as Grace Pasic
Plot:
Two washed-up boxing buddies get the chance of a lifetime when a crooked, obnoxious fight promoter offers them $50,000 apiece to haul ass down to Vegas in 24 hours and fight each another. The duo accept but only if their contract stipulates that the winner of the fight will get a real title shot afterwards.
Critique:
"Something was missing" was the first thing that crossed my mind as I ushered my way out of the movie theatre after seeing this movie. Some elements were there, like the decent buddy-to-buddy repartee, the manly humor, the woman caught between two men who love her, the ever-present soundtrack, and yes, even some boxing, but "something" was simply amiss. I didn't care too much for the characters, I didn't laugh too much at their jokes, I didn't even care so much as to who ended up with the girl or who won the boxing match for that matter. In the end, all I was left with was essentially a "road film" with a little bit of boxing tossed in at the end. The actors were all good, with Harrelson and Banderas providing some decent chemistry, Lucy Liu sexing it all up, and Davidovich, well, okay, I guess they could have cast someone a little better for her role. She just looked their mom in some scenes! Oh well. All in all, the film swooped by at an even pace with just enough interest for me to stay tuned for the big fight. Unfortunately, the actual moment of truth fizzled in my eyes and the conclusion of the film just left me feeling indifferent at best.

I don't remember director Shelton ever pulling a symbolic ending over on us before, but this film, and especially the, what kind only be described as, "strange" boxing match, left much to be desired. I was looking forward to a fun, hard-fought, exciting scrap between the two friends, but instead I was left tickling my brain petals trying to figure out what some of the weird imagery meant. Also, the fight itself was too repetitive, and way over the top in respect to one particular aspect (I don't like to ruin actual details of a film in my reviews, but hopefully you'll get my drift if you see the movie). Overall, I would most likely recommend this movie as a rental for sure, but if you are planning to see it on the big screen, I would suggest it only to those who are huge fans of any of its stars. All boxing fans should immediately drop their smelling salts and remain seated cause this is definitely not the big boxing movie that you've all been waiting for. Seventy percent of the film actually takes place on the road, and the boxing scenes are just bizarre and monotonous. In the end, the movie made me laugh hard a couple of times, smile once here and there, and shrug my shoulders when it was all said and done. And save for one particularly cool movie star cameo during the final boxing match, even the other celebrity appearances were simply ho-hum. Rod Stewart?!? C'mon!!

Love it or leave it, the one good thing that we do come away with from this movie is the realization that one of these two men clearly stands above the other in at least one respect. And yes, hands down, the shower scene finally confirms the fact that Woody Harrelson's ass can beat Antonio's any day!!
(c) 2017 Berge Garabedian
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