In this season of the bio-pic comes another film based on a true story, Bleed For This, starring Miles Teller (Whiplash). Bleed For This tells the inspirational, true story of Vinny "The Pazmanian Devil" Pazienza; a Rhode Island boxer who wins a world boxing title but almost loses his life in a car wreck that leaves him with a broken neck. When doctors want to fuse Pazienza's neck in the hope that he will be able to walk again, he refuses and decides to wear a halo instead with the hopes that his neck will heal naturally so he can get back to boxing again.
It's an "against all odds story" that would be almost unbelievable if we didn't know ahead of time that it actually happened. Teller is great as the colorful character "Paz", a womanizing gambler with a self destructive personality. The supporting cast is also stellar. Aaron Eckhart plays Kevin Rooney, the former Mike Tyson trainer and Katey Sagal (Peggy from "Married with Children") plays Vinny's mom, who prays at her shrine of the saints during all of his fights and who cooks a lot of Italian food for her family.
The interaction between Eckhart and Teller is the best part of the movie. At the time they meet Rooney has been fired by his top boxer, Mike Tyson (although no background story is given in the movie about why; Don King and Tyson's wife Robin Givens are said to be the ones who wanted him gone) and Paz is coming off a loss and hopes to have one last chance to redeem himself. The two need each other to get off the ropes and back into the boxing world. The two men eventually develop a sincere friendship.
Another thing we learn from the movie is that boxing is a crooked sport (Duh) with promoters stacking the odds against certain fighters with hopes that other fighters can win and get into a position to make even more money for the promoters. It's under these circumstances that Paz excelleled. He won, despite the scenarios set up by others for him to lose certain bouts.
Although Bleed For This is a boxing movie its also much more. It teaches and it inspires. My favorite line in the movie is when Rooney tells Pazienza, "you don't know how to give up." Paz answers, " I know exactly how to give up. You know what scares me Kev? Is that it is easy."
The movie is rated R for nudity, language and a graphic car crash and it has a runtime of one hour and fifty six minutes. The last thirty minutes of the movie consists of one of the best boxing sequences I've ever seen. On my "Hollywood Popcorn Scale" I rate Bleed For This a LARGE.