A Brooklyn orphan (Jake Gyllenhaal) sits undefeated atop the light heavyweight world with his foster care sweetheart (Rachel McAdams) by his side until his temper and a tragic accident cost him everything forcing him to regroup, with the aid of a lowly, faithful trainer (Forest Whittaker), to win back the title and the thing that matters most in the world: his daughter. Southpaw seems like a 12 year old stayed up all night watching 8 Mile and The Rocky Marathon, wrote a screenplay, and invited his friends over to film it on his phone. Antoine Fuqua's punchless pugilistic saga isn't only packed to the gills with boxing and standard movie cliches, it is shockingly lacking in style and form, hurried to the point of sloppiness, and contains bout sequences that couldn't have been filmed with any more disinterest. The cast is either out of their element (McAdams, 50 Cent) or strong in roles that give them nothing to work with whatsoever (Forest Whitaker, Naomie Harris) and the usually reliable Gyllenhaal enters the ring with an impressive build and coughs up a lot of blood in the process but is surprisingly unconvincing as a slimshady.
* 1/2 out of ****