I’m a big fan of sports movies. It really doesn’t matter what sport, I just find them exciting and motivating. Some sports movies try too hard, while others truly reach down and give you what you’ve been looking for. One example of this is Rudy, which is nothing short of a classic. It is more than just a run of the mill underdog story. It is based on a true story with real relevance to the sports world. Friday Night Lights takes the seriousness of High School Football to whole new level possibly only known to people who grow up in that culture. However, this week I’m here to talk about female boxing movies. Lets look at Million Dollar Baby staring Hillary Swank and Girl Fight staring Michelle Rodriguez.
I won’t rehash the entire plot of either movie, but just visit the view of what I believe both movies were meant to convey. Now both films are meant to empower women and I’ve got no problem with that at all. However, Girl Fight attempts to show the equality of two equally trained boxers regardless of gender. The problem is Michelle is trying way to hard to be a man in this movie. While known for tough girl roles, a bad attitude, and a sexy look while doing it, I believe she mostly took this role to strengthen her portfolio. The movie isn’t well written at all and the final fight is between her and a grown man who was boxing well before the main character considered fighting. The movie just doesn’t make sense chronologically as she is able to train up in a very small period of time to fight this semi-pro man. I love Michelle but this movie just simply isn’t one of her best tough girl roles.
Hilary Swank steps onto the scene of Million Dollar Baby as a 30 plus waitress who has always wanted to be a professional fighter. It sort of sits as a mid life crisis, bucket list flick to empower older women everywhere. I believe that the movie intends to tell you that no matter what, always chase your dreams and that life doesn’t end after 30. Clint Eastwood plays a trainer who not only refuses to train women but also tells Hillary that she is too old to start boxing. Morgan Freeman, master narrator, plays friend to the grumpy old trainer and finally convinces him to give her a shot. This is an epic cliche in many movies (League of Their Own, and I believe G.I. Jane falls in here somewhere). The climax of this movie is not the fact that Hillary is actually a good boxer or that her final fight results in detriment to her health, It’s Morgan Freeman knocking out a fighter who is probably 30 years younger than him. This movie is a tribute to older athletes who continue to defy the odds and perform at the highest level.
While both movies are worth seeing because of a hot Michelle Rodriguez just starting her movie career and a beautiful Hillary Swank in a role that many thought wouldn’t fit her, Girl Fight simply just doesn’t match up to Million Dollar Baby’s emotional spark and character development.
Winner: Million Dollar Baby