Based on the tumultuous real-life experiences of legendary boxing champion Jake LaMotta, THE BRONX BULL chronicles his rise as a world-class boxer and his struggles with life outside of the ring, offering an unflinchingly honest look into the heart of a champion.
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Menetie T. Ejeye
Menetie T. Ejeye,
Andrew J McGuinness
Based on the tumultuous real-life experiences of legendary boxing champion Jake LaMotta, THE BRONX BULL chronicles his rise as a world-class boxer and his struggles with life outside of the ring, offering an unflinchingly honest look into the heart of a champion. Written by
Not in the Same League As the Scorsese Film But I Enjoyed It
The Bronx Bull (2016)
*** (out of 4)
When this film was originally announced the producers decided to call it RAGING BULL II so that it would stir up a media storm, which it did. This also gave the film a lot of negative press from people screaming that Martin Scorsese's masterpiece didn't need a sequel. Well, THE BRONX BULL eventually got made and released and there's no doubt that one could consider it a direct sequel. The film takes place as Jake LaMotta (William Forsythe) has retired from boxing and we see his many lows that would haunt him.
THE BRONX BULL very well could have been called RAGING BULL II. Is this a masterpiece like the Scorsese film? Not even close. If you go into this expecting the same type of picture then you're bound to be disappointed. I really wasn't sure what to expect from the film and at first I was a little nervous but I must admit that I ended up enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. Yes, there are many flaws throughout the picture but at the same time we've got a terrific cast of characters and the film also catches us up on what happened to LaMotta after the ring (a subject just briefly touched upon in RAGING BULL).
What I was most impressed with were the performances. I thought Forsythe was extremely good in the role of LaMotta and you can't help but be impressed because you really do feel as if you're watching a man who has lost his soul. I really thought the actor did a very good job at showing how hot-headed this guy was and how he could just snap in an instant. We've got a lot of famous faces in nice supporting roles including Paul Sorvino who plays LaMotta's father, Joe Mantegna as the best friend and we get the likes of Tom Sizemore, Natasha Henstridge, Penelope Ann Miller, James Russo, Bruce Davidson, Cloris Leachman, Robert Davi and Mike Starr.
As I said, there are quite a few flaws including the story. The film jumps around through several decades and captures different moments in LaMotta's life after the ring but on the whole it's a bit uneven. I'd argue that the direction wasn't the greatest either but it was at least good enough to make sure everything held your attention. The film was obviously shot on a low-budget, which is clearly seen when they try to re-create some of the older times. Still, with all of that said, if you're interested in the LaMotta character then this film should keep you entertained. Just don't go in expecting something that it isn't.
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