Movie review: The Fighter

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

At a glance "The Fighter" feels like a film we've seen a million times, but it deserves a closer look.

Expectations of "Rocky" redux (from the star of "Invincible," no less) will be met with something more interesting, mostly due to the acting performances you get to behold.

Mark Wahlberg plays "Irish" Mickey Ward, an aging fighter who has pretty much served as a punching bag for guys on their way up.

His trainer and brother Dicky (Christian Bale) is a coulda-been former boxer with a crack problem. Ward finds respite from his chaotic family in a neighborhood barmaid (Amy Adams).

Director David O. Russell reteams with Wahlberg for a third time (after "Three Kings" and "I Heart Huckabees"). Wahlberg served as producer, and there's a clear trust between star and director.

Wahlberg's quiet reserve may get lost among flashier performances - Bale and Melissa Leo go all out - but it's key to the film.

For me, though, it's Amy Adams who steals the film. She blends defiance and vulnerability, toughness and tears. She's part of what makes this movie about a lot more than boxing.

The Fighter

Opens Friday

3.5 stars out of 4