Hands of Stone (2016)
Critic Consensus: Hands of Stone's strong cast and fascinating real-life story aren't enough to compensate for a crowded narrative and formulaic script.
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as Ray Arcel
as Roberto Duran
as Sugar Ray Leonard
as Felicidad Duran
as Stephanie Arcel
as Frankie Carbo
as Juanita Leonard
as Carlos Eleta
as Don King
as Kid Duran
as Benny Huertas
as Clara Samaniego
as Marine Molinari
as Gil Clancey
as Howard Cosell
as Angelo Dundee
as Margarito Duran
as Roger Leonard
as Ken Buchanan
as Davey Moore
as Eugenio Iglesias
as Sharon Leonard
as Head Commisioner
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Critic Reviews for Hands of Stone
All this cacophony of backstory ends up being counterproductive, especially when the film tries to convey what makes this fighter worthy of tribute (or forgiveness or reconsideration, depending on your perspective).
Traditional and uninspired, it does an adequate job of relating Duran's story but falls short of providing an engaging cinematic experience.
There are some engaging asides about Arcel's struggles with boxing's dirty underbelly, but they feel like they belong to a different movie. (De Niro's superfluous and soporific voiceover, however, belongs in no movie whatsoever.)
In trying to encompass way too much, Hands of Stone ends up feeling superficial and unsatisfying.
"Hands of Stone" is less like a boxing flick and more like a professional wrestling battle royale with all its different subplots angling for main event status.
Audience Reviews for Hands of Stone
A fairly solid biopic, Hands of Stone tells the story of professional boxing champion Roberto Duran. While rising through the ranks Panamanian boxer Roberto Duran teams up with legendary manager Ray Arcel to help him win a championship, leading to a rivalry with welterweight champion "Sugar" Ray Leonard. Starring Edgar Ramírez, Usher Raymond, Robert De Niro, and Ana de Armas, the film has a solid cast that delivers some good performances. However, the script doesn't really develop Duran all that well, or make him all that sympathetic. And the plot more or less follows the standard formula for a sports film; with a rise, a fall, and a comeback. Still, Hands of Stone is entertaining and even a little inspirational.
The film borders on the melodramatic for way too long, 2 hours by count. I liked the actors and the depth they bring to the film but the filmmaking is forced. You are constantly provided with flashbacks of everything you have seen and that's when he is losing the fight. I have seen pretty much every boxing movie and sadly this misses beats left, right and centre. The writing seems strong so my best guess is the editing where the film seems to have lost its strength.
Hands of Stone has a good story to tell but does it in a very predictable and melodramatic way. The fall of Roberto Durán is portrayed in such a 'Hollywood' way, you have to roll your eyes at the desperate attempt for emotional dialogue. The film goes through so many plot points in rapid session, it fails to tell the important details of Durán's life that makes for a better story. The shaky cam during the fight scenes makes it difficult to follow the action in the ring and they don't seem greatly choreographed to begin with. Perhaps i've been spoiled by films like Creed that came out just last year and that film wasn't even about a real person. Hands of Stone feels like it doesn't have enough of a coherent message to portray exactly what it wants to be as a film. The acting is fine, the visuals of 70s Panama and 80s New York City is great. Hell, you even get a decent Don King impersonation but it is poor writing and a poor narrative that weighs down the film. Hands of Stone is a missed opportunity to cover the life of one of boxing's most influential figures and it's a damn shame.
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