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Fighting Tommy Riley (2004)

R | | Drama, Sport | 2006 (Italy)
An aging trainer and a young fighter, both in need of a second chance, team-up to overcome the demons of their past...and chase the dreams of their future.

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Marty Goldberg
...
Tommy Riley
...
Stephanie
Diane Tayler ...
Diane Stone (as Diane M. Tayler)
...
Bob Silver
...
Leroy Kane
...
Freddie Holt
...
Mosley (as Michael Bent)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Adam Harlan ...
Bob Silver's Executive
Erik Stahl ...
Referee Boxer
Adrian Vatsky ...
Alex (as Boris Gorovatsky)
Adam Visco ...
Student
...
Laurie
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Storyline

Trainer Marty Goldberg has been stuck working on the fringes of the professional circuit far too long. Searching for a way out, he discovers Tommy, a young man with raw talent to burn. Outside the ring however, Tommy displays a self-destructive streak that could end his career before it begins. Marty works with Tommy to tame that streak. Written by Sujit R. Varma

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some sexual content | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

|

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

2006 (Italy)  »

Also Known As:

A boxedző  »

Box Office

Budget:

$200,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$5,199 (USA) (6 May 2005)

Gross:

$5,199 (USA) (6 May 2005)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

[last lines]
Stephanie: Tommy! Tommy!
Tommy Riley: Gotta go.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in T.K.O. (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Coulda been a contender...
16 May 2005 | by (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews

What is it with Great White Hope stories? And why do so many of them have to be Irish? Fighting Tommy Riley was an attempt at a boxing film with heart. That was the first mistake. The second mistake was naming it "Fighting Tommy Riley". This whole subject is tired and hackneyed. The element of succeeding against odds is a worthy principle, but there must be a better way to do it instead of yet another "Irish" boxing story.

The story is set in LA (I think) - how many Irish boxers are there here? Why couldn't the story have been about 'Fighting Juan Gonzalez' or 'Battling Hector Lopez'? At least then there would have been an element of authenticity. I guess it just doesn't have the same ring. So we're treated to an ahistorical account of Tommy Riley and his fabulous boxing skills with no accounting for his prowess or prominently displayed physique.

After being found at a local gym by an agent and a washed up trainer and now high-school teacher with a penchant for quoting Melville, Tommy agrees to be trained by the rotund Marty. Why and how Marty is such an expert is glossed over yet Tommy accepts his wisdom and becomes his disciple. Unfortunately, it seems that Marty's weakness is not limited to self-discipline at the donut shop. His self-loathing is evident in the debris littered around his living room: empty Chinese food boxes, donut crumbs, sleeping pills...

The film tries to create a bond between trainer and boxer, as all boxing films do. But Tommy has no past; at least, we don't get much insight into his past. And yet he seems troubled. He has a very attractive girlfriend, who occasionally deigns to reprimand him for "not opening up" and "not knowing where she stands." Poor Tommy grinds out his days on the loading dock and his nights at the gym. So Marty becomes the father figure, and a jealous one at that. But he does get Tommy some fights and victories.

When Marty offers to cook for Tommy, you can sense that something is not quite right in his intentions. This is fairly early in the film, yet I found myself wishing the inevitable would not happen. Marty's "protective" instincts for Tommy lead them to an isolated cabin in the woods for a week-long training session. Ah yes, father and son, bonding in the woods: sparring, shadow boxing, rubdowns, quivering hands, and... The ride back to LA is quiet.

Tommy's wins in the ring attract the attention of a promoter with self-aggrandizing intentions (as usual). But he can get Tommy a title shot. On the condition that Marty is removed from the picture. The wholesome and principled Tommy will indignantly have none of that, but after a ride in a limo with his chick, the writing is on the wall. Marty slumps home to beat himself up and hit the bottle. Of sleeping pills.

Ultimately Marty's sacrifice was for Tommy's gain, a not-unmoving theme. But for weak dialog and one-dimensional characters, "Tommy Riley" might have had a shot. For me, the boxing film (Irish or not)needs to be grittier, the way Rocky Balboa started out in a Philadelphia Catholic hall. Otherwise, the whole theme can hung up like a pair of worn-out Everlast gloves.


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