Articles & Notes — August 21, 2017 at 1:06 pm

Gladiator (1992) – a hidden gem you should see

If you ask people about the “Gladiator film”, most of them would quickly think about the 2000 Ridley Scott epic, with Russell Crowe and Oliver Reed. Well, long before Scott’s film (which won 5 Oscars), there was another “Gladiator”.

Directed by Rowdy Herrington (previously directred Road House with Patrick Swayze), “Gladiator” (1992) tells the story of Tommy Riley (James Marshall), who moves to Chicago with his father, and soon falls into the world of illegal underground boxing, ruled by merciless Jimmy Horn (Brian Dennehy). Of course, along the way, Riley finds friends in another boxer Lincoln (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and love interest Dawn (Cara Buono).

Considering all the mindless “MMA flicks” that come out these days, “Gladiator” is steps above them, in terms of acting, story, fight scenes and so on. This is recommended for those, who liked “Rocky”. Seriously, it’s that good.

And here are reasons you should check out “Gladiator”:

“Gladiator” is surprisingly good in terms of characters. Everyone seems to have you feel exactly like you should. James Marshall is the perfect silent-type underdog you love to root for. Brian Dennehy’s character is total evil that you’d want to beat yourself. Cara Buono’s Dawn character looks like a girl you’d want for yourself if you were to settle down.

The cast is great: aside from James Marshall, we have Cuba Gooding Jr, Brian Dennehy, Robert Loggia, Ossie Davis. Everyone fit their parts perfectly. While neither James Marshall nor Brian Dennehy look like boxers, they still fit in perfectly. So it all works.

You thought boxing in “Rocky” series was brutal… how about illegal boxing in “Gladiator”, which includes elbow hits, headbutts, choking, knee hits as well as punches to family jewels. Beautifully shot, no shaky cam, a treat for fans of fighting.

He has a supporting role in the film, but he steals basically every scene he’s in, that includes the fight scenes as well. Gooding looks legit in the ring, and it’s just a joy watch him deliver his lines. Needless to say, his film career took off after “Gladiator”.

In total, “Gladiator” is light, entertaining drama, with great fights, very good acting. A great time-passer.

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