“Counterpunch” tells a story of a young boxer Emilio (Alvaro Orlando), who dreams of winning the Golden Gloves boxing championship.
Everyone has dreams, some reach them easy, some never do at all. Emilio is one of those, who reached his dream the hard way.
Coming from a dysfunctional family, without father, with a mother, that doesn’t live quite a respectable way of life, Emilio is learning the ropes slowly, the hard way.
He’s not alone though – there’s his dog, there’s his caring grandmother, uncle Frank (Oscar Torre), who trains him, and the stunningly beautiful Talia (Camila Banus) – a daughter of a fight promoter, who is slowly becoming a boxing promoter herself.
It so happens, that Emilio has a bi-polar disorder, and due to an accident, he ends up in a mental hospital, where his crisis counselor Manny (Danny Trejo) takes care of him, slowly building back Emilio’s confidence.
Soon Emilio returns to normal life, with one goal ahead of him – train twice as hard, and get another shot at the championship title.
“Counterpunch” at first seems like another low-budget boxing movie, yet in fact, it is one powerful drama. Almost all of the characters are vivid, and the the actors do their parts great – whoever was responsible for casting, did a fantastic job.
Alvaro Orlando seems like a mix between young Rocky Marciano and Oscar De La Hoya, and he’s introduced to us in a great scene, similar to that of “Raging Bull”, when De Niro as Jake La Motta is dancing in the ring.
Orlando was an amateur Golden Gloves boxer (going into the professional level), thus the film’s story is based on his own life.
Danny Trejo (the wise mentor) and Steven Bauer (the abusive boyfriend) bring the “name factor” to the film, perfectly playing their parts.
Camila Banus will surely secure a lot of new fans, after “Counterpunch” hits the theaters, as this young girl is not only ridiculously beautiful, she’s a fine actress as well.
“Counterpunch” isn’t without flaws of course, the weak part of the film is…boxing scenes. It seems like the filmmakers were so busy trying to build up a story, that they completely forgot about fighting.
Well, they definitely succeeded with the story, as “Counterpunch” punches viewers with relationships and emotions, rather than boxing. So if you’re looking for a “fighting movie”, this film might come out as disappointing.
Otherwise, “Counterpunch” definitely deserves to be seen by the general audience, despite being made for only $500,000 according to IMDB.
The film was made with heart, and it shows. Definitely worth a look at least once.
BZFILM SCALE: 6/10
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