A boy from Providence Rhode Island named Vinny Pazienza (Miles Teller) grew up to be a great boxer and at Caesars Hotel in Las Vegas he is late for his weigh in with his opponent Roger Mayweather (Peter Kid Chocolate Quillin). This light weight fight takes place on November 7, 1988 and Vinny has his father Angelo (Ciaran Hinds) in his corner as always. After the fight Lou Duva (Ted Levine) Vinny’s manager said that Vinny will most likely retire which outraged the Pazienza family. Vinny is a respectable man, he doesn’t drink, does no drugs but wants one more shot which he gets under the training expertise of Tyson’s trainer Kevin Rooney (Aaron Eckhart). There is one major issue per Kevin and that is that Vinny needs to move up two notches to a junior middle weight category. Time to lose some pounds that he recently gained but in an Italian family what do you expect. Vinny’s family, mother Louise (Katey Sagal), sister Doreen (Amanda Clayton) and her husband Jon (Daniel Sauli) along with Vinny’s girlfriend Heather (Tina Casciani) all stand behind his wishes and the choices he makes. Now at 154 pounds Vinny has his first middle weight fight against Gilbert Dele (Jean Pierre Augustin) and it happens to be a title fight at the Providence Civic Center that ends up in a knockout.
When Vinny gets into a car accident all his hopes of one day fighting Roberto Duran (Edwin Rodriguez) are diminished and four days later he is fitted with a Halo and told he will never fight again. When released from Kent Hospital all his hopes and dreams have been shattered but it did not take long before he disobeyed the doctors’ orders and began to train with weights in his basement behind everyone’s back except for Kevin. After six months Vinny had his Halo removed and later begins to feel that he beat the odds and is looking to fight again but no one wants to risk it with him. When Lou sees that Vinny is recently getting a lot of media attention he works out the details to fight Duran for 1.6 million dollars at the MGM in Vegas. If you’re familiar with boxing history you know what happened but if not than you may want to see this film. In the boxing world everything looks shiny from the outside but on the inside everything is filled with lies and many people say it’s not that simple. Well according to Vinny Pazienza it is that simple so just do it.
This biography was definitely not directed by Ron Howard or Clint Eastwood by no means and I think this director Ben Young just kind of lost his way. The film seems to be cut into pieces which offset the flow of the story a bit. It also almost seemed a bit on the low budget category although it had a good cast! For me personally, I like Miles Teller maybe not as a boxer yet for the most part he does a good job but I think the misdirection and mediocre writing just kind of hurt his chances here. I walked in expecting a few bells and whistles and was disappointed because I got none or at least very little. There was also no great photography nor character development which made me want to get more invested in the story. Aaron Eckhart does a nice job but what was up with that bad haircut it just looked very strange! Sagal was a missed opportunity or else the real mother may have just been that boring all she did was cook and pray. I mean even if the real mother was boring it is a movie so they could have given her something better. Hinds was quite the presence and gave the story a gleam of hope but not enough to praise the whole story and as for Levine silence is golden. It all seemed just a bit amateur and the closest I came to some bells and whistles was in the very end. Check out some of the live footage during the credits at least that seemed more in the ring than out.