Review: “Gladiator”(1992) – ManlyMovie

Review: “Gladiator”(1992)

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.


























  • ChrisWhite

    I have always hade an eye for this movie but never had the guts to see it.. Giving your 8 of 10 Score means that it’s probably a 6 out of 10 movie.. Which means that It’s worth watching!

    • The Night Rider

      lol your trolling is so wooden and awkward. Must try harder, come back when you can make us laugh, sport.

      • ChrisWhite

        Why would I do that? You overrate almost anything before 1995.

    • Mucho Macho

      It might have been a six out of ten movie in 1992 but as they say; absence makes the heart grow fonder. You develop a higher appreciation for movies like this as time goes by, just like any other stuff that meant something to you in your youth.

      I judge things depending on who’s involved & what’s the genre and what’s the objective. If you’re going to put this movie up against say a “Saving Private Ryan” of course is going to come up short in terms of quality and other areas that make up a major motion picture.

      If you want to enjoy some things in life you are just going to have to take them for what they are. This is a good manly kick-ass 90s boxing movie in my book.

  • Jacob Phillips

    Pity James Marshall didn’t have a more successful film career, he was pretty cool. And Brian ‘King Shit Cop’ Dennehy! This is worth watching for the cast alone, let alone the soundtrack. How many films have manly rock songs on the soundtrack these days??

    • Mucho Macho

      James Marshall is a good actor, I haven’t watched the “Twin Peaks” revival that currently airs on Showtime but I read he returns for like an episode or something.

      • Jacob Phillips

        Yeah, I’ve been watching it, he appeared once so far.

        • Mucho Macho

          Cool.. hey let me ask you have you liked it so far?
          Cause I’ve been thinking about watching it.

          • Jack Caine

            It’s good. I like the original series more, but the revival’s got its own identity and doesn’t feel like a rehash. It’s closer in tone to Fire Walk With Me than the original series, but it’s worth seeing if you’re a fan. Kyle MacLachlan is awesome as ever.

            Regarding Marshall, apparently he had to quit acting in the nineties due to health problems he suffered as a side effect of using an acne drug. He sued the pharmaceutical company and got the drug taken off the market, but it’s left him unable to act. So he became a musician instead. He does feature in the new Twin Peaks, but so far he’s only appeared very briefly in the first episode.

            In real life he’s married to Renee Griffin who played Angel (the hooker that gets decapitated) in Showdown in Little Tokyo.

          • Mucho Macho

            Cool bro thanks 👍
            I remember reading something about it once a long time ago about that him having problems with something like that I just did not remember the details or exactly what it was. It’s a shame cause I liked him as an actor and I thought he had potential and Brian Dennehy praised him publicly as one of the best actors he’s work with in his career.
            Now I’m interested in checking out the series I was just not sure about it. Thanx again

          • Jack Caine

            I hope you like it. And if you haven’t already seen it Mucho, you should also check out The Hidden (1987). It’s an overlooked manly movie with a bit of a Twin Peaks vibe. Kyle MacLachlan plays a quirky FBI agent who teams up with an ordinary cop to hunt a killer that can possess people’s bodies. Chris Mulkey (Hank Jennings) also appears as one of the killer’s hosts. It’s a fun underrated flick. I think you’ll like it.


          • Mucho Macho

            Very good choice and I happen to think that unfortunately The Hidden it’s a criminally underrated manly Gem of a movie. It got a lot of play in my VHS when I was a kid.

            I remembers I was watching “Jason Goes to Hell: the Final Friday” that they tried to turn Jason into a Hidden-esque demon which I hated.

            They also did a straight-to-video sequel back in ’93 but it was not as good as the original.

          • Jacob Phillips

            I like it, even better than the original series, as Jack said it’s closer to Fire Walk With Me, which I also liked more than the TV series.

          • Mucho Macho

            Thanks now I’m interested in watching it I was insecure about it.

  • Just Some Polack

    Oh yes, it’s high time someone brought up this unfairly overlooked manly gem. Great review/introduction as always, Mucho.

    • Mucho Macho

      Thanx my amigo

  • ManlyFannyPack

    This movie is funny because all the black characters get pwned by the white characters