Southpaw is so simultaneously entertaining and unsurprising that it could go straight to ESPN Classic, but if these are the extremes it takes for certain people to notice that, hey, that guy from “Bubble Boy” has turned into a heck of an actor, then so be it.
The undeniable intensity of Gyllenhaal’s bulked-up, Method-mumbling performance may leave you feeling more pummeled than convinced in this heavy-handed tale of redemption, in which director Antoine Fuqua once more demonstrates his fascination with codes of masculine aggression, extreme violence and not much else.
Like a "Raging Bull" that’s been clocked one too many times in the head, Antoine Fuqua’s blood-simple boxing melodrama is so loaded with obviousness, it gets more pained groans from the audience than the guys in the ring.
Jake ColeSlant Magazine
Each battle scar in the film is a testament to a vaguely but nonetheless forcefully defined notion of masculinity.