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It's an unsurprising portrayal of an obvious part, but at least [Gyllenhaal] executes it terribly well, something that cannot be said for the remainder of an equally unsurprising, obvious motion picture.
Just as director Antoine Fuqua starts to close in on something interesting and unexpected, he retreats to the safety of his corner and gives us what we've seen too many times before: a predictable flurry of melodramatic jabs.
Southpaw may not bring anything new to the table but there's a nostalgic comfort in watching Billy -- a hardened stereotypical male who is willing to risk disastrous injury for love and glory both in and outside the ring.
When you look past Fuqua's jittery directing, which dices up shots and leans the camera close into its star's painstakingly battered mug, Southpaw is a melange of familiar fighter movie ideas and images going back to Rocky.