Gladiator (1992)

R   |    |  Action, Drama, Sport


Gladiator (1992) Poster

Tommy Riley has moved with his dad to Chicago from a 'nice place'. He keeps to himself, goes to school. However, after a street fight he is noticed and quickly falls into the world of illegal underground boxing - where punches can kill.


6.5/10
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  • Cuba Gooding Jr. and Brian Dennehy in Gladiator (1992)
  • Cuba Gooding Jr. and James Marshall in Gladiator (1992)
  • Cuba Gooding Jr. and James Marshall in Gladiator (1992)
  • James Marshall in Gladiator (1992)
  • Ossie Davis and James Marshall in Gladiator (1992)
  • Brian Dennehy in Gladiator (1992)

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26 February 2017 | zkonedog
7
| An Underrated Effort In The Boxing Film Cannon
Type "Gladiator" into any search engine for movies, and you'll get pages and pages of Russell Crowe's gladiator epic. Yet, at the bottom of those lists, you may just find this little gem that you've never heard of. If you are a fan of pugilistic big-screen experiences, this is one that at the very least will keep you entertained.

For a basic plot summary, "Gladiator" tells the story of Tommy Riley (James Marshall), a white teenage youngster who (via parental circumstances) is moved into an all-black school and neighborhood. After having enough of the constant bullying and needing money badly, Tommy is recruited into a shady boxing circuit by Pappy Jack (Robert Loggia). After befriending similar hard-luck case Lincoln Haines (Cuba Gooding Jr.), Tommy runs headlong into "big boss" Jimmy Horn (Brian Dennehy) when a huge conflict of interest rises between them.

"Gladiator", in terms of themes, is about as simple a movie as ever was made. I remember watching it off television as a kid and even then being about to follow the themes. While that simplicity keeps it from being a classic, it also makes sure that the movie ages pretty well. Whether you watching this movie in theaters in 1992 or on your flat-screen in 2014, it plays pretty much the same.

Perhaps what shines most from this movie, though, is the performance by Brian Dennehy. That is what I remembered most from the original viewing and what drew me towards finding it again. Along the way, though, I noticed great performances from Gooding Jr. and Ossie Davis as well.

If you are not a fan of boxing movies, I would say you can probably skip this one, as without an appreciate of the boxing-related themes the rest of the narrative will be a bit too simplistic to hold your interest. If you love the "sweet science", though, this one will at least entertain you with some drama and adversity themes.

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