When one mentions the movie “Gladiator” obviously people think of the Ridley Scott directed manly epic starring Russell Crowe from the year 2000. But eight years prior in 1992, there was also a movie titled “Gladiator” which I happen to like a lot. During the summer Hollywood releases like 10 movies every week that cost over 9,000 trillion dollars and one cannot help but to remember movies from our youth that cost a fraction of what movies cost today and yet they delivered the goods. The “Gladiator” movie from 1992 is a boxing film & unfortunately with the passage of time it has been kind of forgotten. So for fans of old school action movies from the 80s & 90s, it’s time for those who have seen it to ReDiscover it and those who have not to check it out for the first time.
The first thing you oughta know about this motion picture, is that it was directed by the great director Rowdy Herrington who directed the manly testosterone filled biblical classic epic Patrick Swayze vehicle “Roadhouse”. Even though this movie does not reach those heights of awesomeness ( few movies do) it’s still a pretty cool manly 90s movie.
The movie stars James Marshall as Tommy Riley, in the movie Tommy Riley’s mother died a year before from cancer and his grieving father became a degenerate alcoholic & gambler and managed to fuck up his and his son’s life (the father is played by John heard). So Tommy and his father have to leave the suburbs and move to the shit metropolis known as the inner city of Chicago ( it was bad then and it’s only gotten worse ). Obviously a white boy from the burbs walking around these parts is not safe and pretty soon our boy Tommy encounters trouble.
On his very first day of school, Tommy has a confrontation with a few neighborhood hoodlums, the gang’s leader is named Shortcut & he is very well played by Lance Slaughter. In this very scene we come to know the character played by Cuba Gooding jr. Named Lincoln. Turns out these two characters have been feuding for a while & Gooding jr. of course being the better of the two when it comes to morals.
Tommy gets a job at a Diner that’s owned by the parents of a hot chick that he’s macking on that goes to school with him and in there while taking out the trash he encounters Shortcut and his gang. Turns out manly Legend Robert Loggia was also at the Diner and he interrupted the confrontation before went any further. Robert Loggia plays a character by the name of Pappy Jack, who happens to be a scout & recruiter for an underground boxing league owned and managed by Jimmy Horn played by the greatest sheriff of all time Brian Dennehy.
Tommy’s father has gotten a new job as a salesman and has to travel and has left his son behind when he was confronted by two loan sharks that were looking to collect on his father’s debt so Tommy agrees to fight as a one time only deal for the only amount of money he thinks his father owes. So when he wins his one fight in spectacular fashion Papa Jack and Horn see a gold mine and figure out a way to make Tommy fight again. Turns out his father had more debts, so Horn bought them and now his father’s debts are Horn’s and it is up to Tommy to fight to clean his father’s debts.
The movie is never boring and it does what it set out to do to, provide us men with manly entertainment. I love boxing movies, I love the sport of boxing, I also watch UFC, professional wrestling and YouTube videos where people are fighting and knocking each other out, in other words, as long as I’m not the one getting his ass kicked, it’s fun for me.
I also remember liking the soundtrack a lot which had some cool tracks in it such as this one:
& this one:
“Gladiator” received poor reviews from 90s snowflake mentally challenged critics & unfortunately it was not a box office mega hit in the United States. It grossed just over 9 million in U.S. Box Office. The movie opened on March 6′ 1992 and come Monday it debuted number 4 at the box office with a little over 3 million dollars behind number 1 “Wayne’s World” (cool movie) number 2 “Lawnmower Man” ( cool movie we need to talk about more) & number 3 “Fried Green Tomatoes” which I never saw and unless I get a sex change at gun point I’m still not watching that cinematic girly shit ( By the way number 6 for that week was the Stallone classic “Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot 😂).
James Marshall who shared the screen also with Cuba Gooding jr. in “A Few Good Men” and who was famous for the TV show “Twin Peaks” at one point was supposed to become a bigger star. This was his first and only lead role in a movie and I like the fact that in this film he had a quiet low-key intensity about him. I thought it worked well for his character and in this movie he does something that guys who have been in this situation have done or need to do if they ever find themselves in a shitty part of town, you need to walk without drawing too much attention to yourself, not making too much eye contact and always walk fast like you got someplace to be.
It’s a shame the director Rowdy Herrington did not get to do more movies, last time I checked he had retired to Montana and I get the feeling he could have done a lot more of these manly lower-budget Kick-Ass movies had he been given the chance.
So if any of you guys are in the mood to watch a boxing movie and haven’t seen this one or haven’t seen this one in a long time, it’s definitely worth a look. It ain’t “Rocky” or “Raging Bull” but it’s old-school fun and that’s all the entertainment we need sometimes.