HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Prisoners of the Ghostland
Duel to the Death
Mandibles
Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands
Yakuza Princess
Djinn, The
New Order
Triggered
Claw
Original Cast Album: Company
Martyrs Lane
Paper Tigers, The
Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, The
Hall
ParaPod: A Very British Ghost Hunt, The
Collini Case, The
Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard
Snake Girl and the Silver-Haired Witch, The
Superhost
Plan A
When I'm a Moth
Tigers Are Not Afraid
Misha and the Wolves
Yellow Cat
Shorta
Knocking
Bloodthirsty
When the Screaming Starts
Sweetie, You Won't Believe It
Lions Love
Demonic
Night Drive
Luca
Prospect
Toll, The
Last Bus, The
Purple Sea
Pebble and the Boy, The
Mosquito State
Lina from Lima
   
 
Newest Articles
Intercourse Between Two Worlds: Twin Peaks Fire Walk with Me/The Missing Pieces on Blu-ray
Enjoy the Silents: Early Universal Vol. 1 on Blu-ray
Masterful: The Servant on Blu-ray
70s Sitcom Dads: Bless This House and Father Dear Father on Blu-ray
Going Under: Deep Cover on Blu-ray
Child's Play: Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 3 on DVD
Poetry and Motion: Great Noises That Fill the Air on DVD
Too Much to Bear: Prophecy on Blu-ray
Truth Kills: Blow Out on Blu-ray
A Monument to All the Bullshit in the World: 1970s Disaster Movies
Take Care with Peanuts: Interview with Melissa Menta (SVP of Marketing)
Silent is Golden: Futtocks End... and Other Short Stories on Blu-ray
Winner on Losers: West 11 on Blu-ray
Freewheelin' - Bob Dylan: Odds and Ends on Digital
Never Sleep: The Night of the Hunter on Blu-ray
Sherlock vs Ripper: Murder by Decree on Blu-ray
That Ol' Black Magic: Encounter of the Spooky Kind on Blu-ray
She's Evil! She's Brilliant! Basic Instinct on Blu-ray
Hong Kong Dreamin': World of Wong Kar Wai on Blu-ray
Buckle Your Swash: The Devil-Ship Pirates on Blu-ray
Way of the Exploding Fist: One Armed Boxer on Blu-ray
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
   
 
  Gladiator Licking Them In The Ring
Year: 1992
Director: Rowdy Herrington
Stars: James Marshall, Cuba Gooding Jr, Robert Loggia, Brian Dennehy, Ossie Davis, Cara Buono, Jon Seda, T.E. Russell, Francesca P. Roberts, Lance Slaughter, John Heard, Deborah Stipe, Vonte Sweet, Antoine Roshell, Jeon-Paul Griffin, Mike Nussbaum
Genre: Drama, ActionBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Tommy Riley (James Marshall) has moved to this Chicago ghetto with his troubled father (John Heard), and is starting his first day at a new school, though it could have begun better as he attracts unwanted attention to himself when he shoots a stray basketball right into the hoop, and the players are less than impressed. This marks him out as someone to pick on, and sure enough when he arrives in English class he gets trouble from some would-be tough guys, though he only takes so much before he fires off a few deadpan quips at them, which angers them all the more. He does catch the eye of Dawn (Cara Buono), and his knowledge of Mark Twain impresses his teacher (Francesca P. Roberts), but fate will bring him to violence...

Violence of an organised variety, that was, in an action drama set in the shady world of boxing, as opposed to the more professional, visible, even showbiz world that would be shown on television or attract huge crowds. This was a far less glitzy affair that Tommy is drawn into, simply because he needs the money to pay off the loan sharks his father is in debt to, which in truth was a rather contrived method of contrasting the reasons the other, non-white characters get into the sport. This was the nineties, when the world's greatest boxers were judged to be black, a collection of young men from largely poor backgrounds who had risen through the ranks to excel, whereas the successful white boxers were thinner on the ground.

The trouble with that was it would potentially have been more interesting to chart the progress of Cuba Gooding Jr's character Haines, who befriends Tommy and has a career running parallel to his, but Marshall was one of those Twin Peaks cast members who secured their own leading role in a movie, though most of them had been the actresses rather than the male cast, so he was individual in that. Not that Gladiator did his career much good as it disappeared quickly from cinemas to build a minor cult following among boxing movie enthusiasts who appreciated its basic plotting and adherence to tradition, some would say cliché, albeit with more of an interest in the criminal element who infiltrated the sport.

Besides, there was a far bigger blockbuster that showed up eight years later with the same title that pretty much ensured this effort was eclipsed, so that whenever anyone mentioned a movie called Gladiator it was an image of Russell Crowe in his leather armour that sprang to mind, not Marshall posing in his shorts, fists raised in combative stance. In fact, it was a pretentious title for an unpretentious film, the intellectual bruiser conceit aside, director Rowdy Herrington coming off the absurdities of Road House to helm a less colourful, more muscular (and frankly, less camp) work which had more to say about social issues than staging man on man macho grappling, though that said there were times when the matches here resembled wrestling bouts more than fisticuffs. Through it all, Marshall glowered and looked appropriately physical in the action sequences.

He had very decent support from a collection of performers whose careers would go on to outshine his own in star wattage, Buono going on to flourish in television and Gooding of course winning an Oscar (as another sportsman), though you could argue his experiences had their ups and downs subsequently. On the more veteran front, Robert Loggia (who would also be given a memorable role by David Lynch) essayed the dodgy manager part, making sure Tommy stays in the job when he would prefer to have studied for university which we are told he is perfectly capable of doing, again the contrasts with those impoverished kids around him. Brian Dennehy was perhaps the real villain, pulling the strings to make big profits out of these young men knocking lumps out of each other, and in an odd twist he was portrayed as really good at boxing as well (he says strategy is the most important element of winning), which culminated in a bizarre finale that saw him and Marshall squaring off against one another in the ring. You forgave the less sensible developments, however, this was a perfectly fair, solidly diverting effort. Music by Brad Fiedel.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2125 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
  Desbris M
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: