Hands of Stone (2016) Review


The story of boxer Roberto Duran who made his professional debut at the age of 16 and retired from boxing at the age of 50. A look into his life and that of legendary trainer Ray Arcel.


Boxing movies are usually very impressive and entertaining, I have a bit of thing for them in all honesty. It is a sport where the athlete has a lot of support in training and at ringside but once the fight starts it is just them in the ring against another fighter. The mental side of the sport is something I find fascinating therefore I always jump at the chance to watch a boxing film.

Find it bad though that I had never heard of Roberto Duran, I am not even sure how that was possible given his long boxing career and the way he beat Sugar Ray Leonard for the WBC welterweight title. Duran’s background being from Panama was particularly inspiring especially showing how much he was giving back to the country during the height of his career.

Ray Arcel is the man who takes on training him to help his career hit the big time and he has had a very complicated life it seems as his daughter comes back into his life something his current wife did not know. Although we only get one or two scenes around this so it all seemed a little bit off having it then in the film as it wasn’t massively explored.

With the fight being against Sugar Rey Leonard we get to see a tiny little bit of what might have happened for him in the build up to the fight and then the rematch. But the biggest issue I had with the film as a whole was that it was a bit jumpy between the different parts and should have kept the focus more on Duran.

The actual boxing scenes were ok, pretty standard in what we would expect to see. In the rematch and the moment he said “no mas” (no more) is something that he has always denied, despite the fight then being stopped.

I felt as though they could have really put more into getting to know Duran as the film seemed to just scratch the surface. Edgar Ramirez was engaging enough as Duran though so that was good to watch. Usher as Sugar Ray was a little bit of a surprise and I guess that is all to say on that matter really. Robert De Niro as Ray Arcel was a little bit of a scene stealer which is no surprise really and an interesting fact is that he actually met the real Arcel when he was filming Raging Bull!

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