Movie Review: Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Boxing. Two people standing in a small arena, trying to punch the shit out of each other. Yeah, I don’t understand the point of it. That said, I don’t know what the point of any sport’s existence is. Feel free to hate on me for not understanding the appeal/purpose of sports… I don’t care.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Million Dollar Baby”.

Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) is a woman determined on becoming a great boxer, so she starts training at a gym owned by old and hardened boxing trainer Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood). And soon Frankie takes Maggie under his wing to help her become a great boxer. The story follows them as their relationship evolves while they also go through stuff. While the ideas presented at first glance are very basic and familiar from other boxing movies, the execution of said ideas is much better than a lot of other movies in the genre. Seeing their relationship evolve over the two hour runtime is quite fascinating and it makes for a really solid plot that actually delivers a few devastatingly emotional punches (pun intended) at the right times. So yeah, the plot here is pretty great.

The characters in this movie are all fleshed out and quite interesting. Hilary Swank is terrific as Maggie, perfectly playing this determined woman. She wsa believable in the role and I really cared about her. Clint Eastwood is great as Frankie, giving us the perfect blend of classic Eastwood gruffness and relatable vulnerability. Morgan Freeman (AKA god) plays an employee at Frankie’s gym (while also providing the movie’s narration) and he is absolutely terrific in the role. We also get a bunch of great supporting performances from people like Anthony Mackie, Jay Baruchel, Mike Colter, Brían F. O’Byrne, Michael Peña, and Margo Martindale. So this is a pretty stellar cast.

The score for the movie was composed by… Clint Eastwood? Really? *Does more research*. Yeah, Clint Eastwood composed the music for this movie… surprise. Jokes aside, he did a pretty great job with the music. It’s dramatic, it’s emotional, and it just fits the movie perfectly. Good job, Mr. Eastwood.

This movie was directed by Clint Eastwood and he did a great job. The shots look great and every shot is at the perfect length. Now, since this is a boxing movie we should talk about the boxing scenes. So how are the boxing scenes here? Yeah, they’re pretty great. They’re exciting, intense, and kind of brutal. It all feels quite realistic.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 91% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 86/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,1/10 and is ranked #202 on the “Top 250” list. The movie won 4 Oscar in the categories of Best picture, Best Actress (Swank), Best supporting actor (Freeman), and Best director. It was also nominated for an additional 3 Oscars in the categories of Best actor (Eastwood), Best adapted screenplay, and Best film editing. 

“Million Dollar Baby” is an absolutely fantastic sports-drama. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Punch*. My final score for “Million Dollar Baby” is a 9,88/10. Which of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Million Dollar Baby” is now completed.

Is this one of Eastwood’s best films? Hell yes.

Series Review: Iron Fist – Season 1 (2017)

The Marvel/Netflix machine has returned to give us another show… so here we go!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Iron Fist”!

Danny Rand (Finn Jones) is a young man that has returned to New York after being gone for 15 years. But as Danny is trying to reconnect with his old friends he soon finds out that an ancient enemy is in New York. So he will have to use his martial arts skills and his mystical “Iron Fist” powers (which he gained during his 15-year long abscence) to try to stop his enemies. And as the plot unravels there are twists and turns throughout, some more obvious than others. And this plot is… fine. The biggest problem with the plot of “Iron Fist” is that it’s trying to be intriguing and deep, but it never reaches those heights. It doesn’t have the tense crime-drama of “Daredevil”, the intriguing detective story of “Jessica Jones”, or the socially relevant tales of “Luke Cage”. I wouldn’t really call the plot here bad, but it just never gripped or intrigued me like any of the previous three shows did. It has it’s moments, but overall it’s a pretty predictable plot.

The characters here are not very deep and not always the most interesting, but I at the same time didn’t hate them. Finn Jones is pretty good as Danny Rand. His performance can feel a little bland at times, but you can at least tell that he’s giving it his all (I blame any shortcomings on the writing). Jessica Henwick plays Colleen Wing, a young woman that Danny befriends in the show and she’s really good. She’s a believable badass. Tom Pelphrey plays Ward, an old friend of Danny’s who works at the company started by Danny and Ward’s parents, and while he is the typical asshole at first, he has a small arc in the show, and that was kind of nice. And Pelphrey gives a pretty good performance. Jessica Stroup plays Ward’s sister, Joy, and she’s good in her role. David Wenham (AKA disount Sean Bean) plays Harold, the father of Ward and Joy, and he does a pretty good job in the show. You can tell that he’s pretty shady and Wenham does a good job portraying that. We also get Rosario Dawson once again playing Claire Temple and she’s awesome as always… not much else I can say about her. Most actors in the cast do a good job.

The score for “Iron Fist” was composed by Trevor Morris and it was actually really solid. Sure, parts of it feature the typical electronic action beats one should expect from action movies/show scores (which I didn’t mind). But there us also a lot of synth used in the score which makes for a really awesome sound and actually elevates a good amount of scenes in the show.

This show was created by Scott Buck and directed by a whole bunch of people. And overall this is a fairly well directed show. Normal conversation scenes look fine, nothing special about them. Now, the fight scenes in this show are quite interesting. Because some of them are quite badass. You get a good look at the combatants and it looks good. Then there are a few scenes which are shot in that close up, quickly cut way which the “Bourne” sequels made so popular. However, the close up, quickly cut, shaky-cam scenes in this show are less “Bourne Ultimatum” and more “Alex Cross”… yeah, that’s not great. But there are still good fights in here too. I also want to mention that the “Iron Fist” effect (the glowy hand) looks pretty great… it’s a simple but cool visual effect.

This show has not been the most well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 18% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 37/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10.

“Iron Fist” is a very hit-and-miss show, but overall it’s pretty good. It has an okay plot, okay characters, good performances, great music, and mostly good directing. However it is of course brought down by the plot being relatively weak, the characters not always being the most interesting, and a few of the fights being shaky shits. Time for my final score. *PUNCH!*. My final score for “Iron Fist” is a 7,88/10. So while it’s the weakest of the Marvel/Netflix shows, I’d still say that it’s worth a watch.

My review of “Iron Fist” is now completed.

Right… bring on “The Defenders”!