Skip to main content


Movie Review: #HandsofStone What goes up, must come down

The story of the legendary Panamanian boxer Roberto Duran proves what goes up, must come down, only to make a comeback.

By: Erika Ashley

Self-raised in the streets of Panama during the 1960s, Roberto Duran had to fight for everything in his life. He fought for food, money, respect and used his God-given talents and pugnacious nature to learn the art of boxing. With the help from many positive male role models that believed in him, Duran made his way to the top. However, once at the top there is no other way but down and Duran’s fall from grace left him with one only option, to get back up.

Roberto Duran’s legacy and backstory is truly inspirational. Going into this bio-pic quite honestly I barely knew anything about Duran and what he accomplished. Having no frame of reference, I thought this film did a great job at outlining his life long struggle having grown up in poverty in a country that was being over-run by America and his need to be successful in boxing in order to survive. However, after some follow up research I realized that the film’s timeline was a little off but still stayed as true as possible. Just like any time a book or someone’s actual life is put into a film there are bound to be some hiccups for time and story sake.

Edgar Ramírez gave a solid performance during his portrayal of Duran and even Usher Raymond’s reenactment of Sugar Ray Leonard was superb. However, Robert De Niro’s depiction of the late Ray Arcel was tired and rehashed from every other character he has played in the past. It was as if we were just watching De Niro play De Niro but as a boxing coach. It really lacked depth and even though he played an age appropriate role, he came across older than expected and just plain tired. Otherwise the other characters were well developed, and they played true to their parts.

It’s unfortunate that some people will not enjoy this film simply because it does frequently use subtitles due to Duran’s native tongue being Spanish. Which many of the beginning scenes showing Duran’s childhood, and other scenes in Panama, are mainly in Spanish and force the audience that may not speak or understand the language to read. And, most people do not like reading. It did not bother me in the slightest and I actually enjoyed the language difference because it only added to the authenticity of Duran’s story.

Besides the language, I genuinely enjoyed the way the film was shot. The throwbacks to the late 70s and early 80s were done so well. The subtle details were fitting and added just enough as to not be overdone and comical. The sound effects and close ups during the boxing matches drew you in and made it feel real, as if you were sitting ring side. Because the Writer & Director Jonathan Jakubowicz thought each piece through and had a solid foundation to work with he did a good job by representing Roberto Duran and everything that he accomplished. Even though Jakubowicz could very well be a huge fan of Duran, it was not apparent or biased, which is a nice touch.

Overall, Hands of Stone is an uplifting and touching rags to riches story about dedication and perseverance. Exiting the Blockbuster Season there is now room for more serious films to begin popping up in theaters and this film ushers in the Fall viewing as we heat up for Oscar Season in just a couple months. This would be a good Sunday afternoon watch to get you ready for a long work week ahead because it hits you right in the feels but leaves you ready to take on anything.

Hands of stone is rated R for language throughout and some sexuality/nudity and has a 105-minute runtime.

Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author @ErikaAshley

Please Leave A Comment-


Popular posts from this blog

Movie Review: #MissSloane

The political drama Miss Sloane fails to lobby us into Oscar territory.
Review by Matt Cummings
In a time when women were supposed to be leading our country, Miss Sloane arrives to remind us of what could have been. Unfortunately, this message about a headstrong female Washington lobbyist loses us early with an unappealing director, a paper-thin plot, and suffers from a ton of convenient realism. If the good (but not impressive) performances weren't there to buffer these and many other gaps, we might have found ourselves voting for impeachment.

For Washington lobbyist Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain), life is about getting her clients what they want from the halls of Congress. Her boss Dupont (Sam Waterston) will sleep with NRA types, fudge travel records, and bully smaller firms into submission if it means a hearty paycheck at day's end. But when Sloane leaves the company to push Gun Control legislation with one of those smaller firms, Dupont turns to his bulldog Co…

Enter For A Chance To Win Passes To See WARCRAFT In Dallas

Enter for a chance to see WARCRAFT on June 7th at 7:00 PM in Dallas.

From Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures comes Warcraft, an epic adventure of world-colliding conflict based on Blizzard Entertainment's global phenomenon.

The peaceful realm of Azeroth stands on the brink of war as its civilization faces a fearsome race of invaders: Orc warriors fleeing their dying home to colonize another. As a portal opens to connect the two worlds, one army faces destruction and the other faces extinction. From opposing sides, two heroes are set on a collision course that will decide the fate of their family, their people and their home.

So begins a spectacular saga of power and sacrifice in which war has many faces, and everyone fights for something.

Directed by Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code) and written by Charles Leavitt and Jones, the film starring Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper, Toby Kebbell, Ben Schnetzer, Rob Kazinsky and Daniel Wu is a Legendary Pic…

Bethany Ashton Wolf¹s FOREVER MY GIRL ACQUIRED BY @roadsidetweets

Forever My Girl tells the story of country music super-star Liam Page (Alex Roe) who left his bride, Josie (Jessica Rothe), at the altar choosing fame and fortune instead. However, Liam never got over Josie, his one true love, nor did he ever forget his Southern roots in the small community where he was born and raised. When he unexpectedly returns to his hometown for the funeral of his high school best friend, Liam is suddenly faced with the consequences of all that he left behind.

Roadside Attractions and LD Entertainment partner for their 7th collaboration with Roadside’s domestic distribution acquisition of Bethany Ashton Wolf’s uplifting family romance Forever My Girl, it was jointly announced today by Roadside Attractions co-founders Howard Cohen & Eric d’Arbeloff, and Mickey Liddell of LD Entertainment. Forever My Girl will be released wide in theaters on October 27, 2017.

The two companies previously collaborated on numerous films including multiple Academy Award® nominee …