Hands of Stone (2016)

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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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Movie Info

HANDS OF STONE follows the life of Roberto Duran (Edgar Ramirez), the Panamanian fighter who made his professional debut in 1968 as a 16 year‐old and retired in 2002 at the age of 50. In June 1980, he defeated Sugar Ray Leonard (Usher Raymond) to capture the WBC welterweight title, but shocked the boxing world by returning to his corner in their November rematch, famously saying the words "no mas" (no more.)

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Cast

Robert De Niro
as Ray Arcel
Edgar Ramirez
as Roberto Duran
Usher Raymond
as Sugar Ray Leonard
Ana de Armas
as Felicidad Duran
Ellen Barkin
as Stephanie Arcel
John Turturro
as Frankie Carbo
Jurnee Smollett-Bell
as Juanita Leonard
Ruben Blades
as Carlos Eleta
Reg E. Cathey
as Don King
David Arosemena
as Kid Duran
Yancey Arias
as Benny Huertas
Ilza Rosario
as Clara Samaniego
Anthony Molinari
as Marine Molinari
Rick Avery
as Gil Clancey
Robb Skyler
as Howard Cosell
Joe Urla
as Angelo Dundee
Eliud Kauffman
as Margarito Duran
Khalid Ghajji
as Roger Leonard
John Duddy
as Ken Buchanan
Aaron Zebede
as Eugenio Iglesias
Janelle Davidson
as Sharon Leonard
Leo Wiznitzer
as Head Commisioner
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News & Interviews for Hands of Stone

Critic Reviews for Hands of Stone

All Critics (105) | Top Critics (30)

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).

Dec 31, 2016 | Rating: C | Full Review…
indieWire
Top Critic

Traditional and uninspired, it does an adequate job of relating Duran's story but falls short of providing an engaging cinematic experience.

Aug 27, 2016 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

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.)

Aug 27, 2016 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…

In trying to encompass way too much, Hands of Stone ends up feeling superficial and unsatisfying.

Aug 26, 2016 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

"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.

Aug 26, 2016 | Rating: C | Full Review…

It's engaging, sure, with some fast-paced and capable fight sequences.

Aug 26, 2016 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

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.

Dann Michalski
Dann Michalski

Super Reviewer

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.

Brendan Nicholls
Brendan Nicholls

Super Reviewer

½

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.

Jacob Smith
Jacob Smith

Super Reviewer

More than anything Hands of Stone is frustrating because there is clearly a large scale to the film and real ambition from both writer/director Jonathan Jakubowicz and the entire cast, but as is true with many a biopics Hands of Stone tries to do and tell its audience too much in too short a time span inadvertently making the film more about a series of events than the characters participating in those events. In theory this is supposed to be a movie about the relationship between Panamanian boxer Roberto Durán (Edgar Ramírez) and legendary trainer Ray Arcel (Robert De Niro) and while this goal is communicated well enough and understood there are so many extraneous things going on around the two central characters the film becomes distracted by its own plot strands. The word I'm looking for is "scattershot." Hands of Stone is a broad strokes approach to the biopic, but in being so it communicates such key elements in haphazard ways thus forcing the audience to not invest as much as they should or even want to. Granted, the film does certain things right as this viewer in particular had no prior knowledge of Durán or his story yet I was immediately interested in the real life events the film was depicting. That is all to say the film is a little all over the place. This especially becomes true after the film effortlessly builds to Durán's first bout with Sugar Ray Leonard (Usher Raymond) and completes that fight within the first hour of the film. While the film could have certainly told us all we needed to know about Durán through the lens of his Sugar Ray fights and all of the drama those entailed Hands of Stone instead feels the need to go further by not only telling us Durán's story as a boxer, but his story as a Panamanian activist, Arcel's story that deals with the New York City mob and a long-lost daughter even going as far to include Leonard's perspective on certain things. Add in the familial drama that Durán creates and deals in with wife Felicidad Iglesias (Ana de Armas) and their five children and there is enough material here for an HBO miniseries. Unfortunately, Hands of Stone is a feature film that clocks in under two hours and while it carries real momentum in the first hour leading up to that first showdown with Sugar Ray that energy is largely lost in the second half of the film leaving us with a movie that might have been something really special and unique did it not try so desperately to adhere to the worn-out sports drama template. read the whole review at www.reviewsfromabed.com

Philip Price
Philip Price

Super Reviewer

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