Actor Mark Wahlberg produced and stars in a new movie called "The Fighter," but it's his co-star Christian Bale who steals the movie.
"The Fighter" is based on the true story of Mickey Ward, a welterweight who came from a troubled family in Boston in the late 1980's.
I was very impressed by the acting in this film especially Christian Bale as Mickey's crack addict brother and manager, but the melodramatic plot resembles too many other movies about boxers.
Wahlberg spent months training to play Mickey, the younger brother of Dickey (Bale), a once successful fighter himself who is now a drug addict. Dickey forces Mickey to fight a boxer twenty pounds heavier than he is, and the vicious beating he takes almost makes him quit the fight game entirely.
What saves Mickey from his brother's bad management and the rest of his dysfunctional family is a new girlfriend. Amy Adams is cast against type as Charlene, a bartender and party girl.
Charlene comes to Mickey's defense against the family that is dragging him down. Melissa Leo (last seen in "Frozen River") is the frosty mother of six daughters and two sons who sees Mickey as little more than a meal ticket. She practically snarls at Charlene.
Mickey doesn't get a legitimate manager until after Dickey is thrown in jail on drug charges.
Any moviegoer can guess that this Rocky-like tale is headed for happier times. I mean why would Hollywood make a film based on a true story of an underdog fighter unless that character rises above his trying circumstances and achieves the success he deserves.
"The Fighter" is well shot, well directed, and above all well acted. (Adams, Bale, and Leo may get supporting actor nominations.) But for me, it's too predictable to be the inspiring film it wants to be.