Like a boxer who gets floored, I was knocked out by the energy and Oscar-worthy ensemble acting in "The Fighter." This is more than a terrific boxing movie — this is a story of family dynamics, redemption and love; a true-life and edgier "Rocky."
Mickey Ward (Mark Wahlberg) is a struggling Beantown welterweight, trained his entire life by half-brother Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale) to be the next "Pride of Lowell." Dicky's claim to fame was the time he supposedly knocked Sugar Ray Leonard off his feet back in the '80s. But now it's 1993, Dicky is a crack addict and Mickey's biggest liability.
It doesn't help that mom Alice (Melissa Leo) and her chorus of big-haired daughters are always in Dicky's corner. Is Mickey willing to cut his family loose to reach his potential as a fighter and as a man?
Bale, who has again transformed himself physically for a role, is electric. His energy — sometimes manic, sometimes funny, often pathetic — is the driving force of the film. Wahlberg grounds it with his quiet humility.