Price Of Glory

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Price Of Glory

In Price Of Glory, Jimmy Smits stars as a promising Mexican-American prize fighter who's brought up too fast by a greedy manager and badly pummeled at the hands of a superior opponent, ending his career. Years later, he's a domineering bully raising three sons—played as young adults by Jon Seda, Clifton Collins Jr., and Ernesto Hernández—to follow in his footsteps, regardless of their ambitions outside the ring. Smits' single-minded quest to amend his own failure by controlling his sons' future is the only piece of psychology Price Of Glory has to offer, and it plays like a broken record. Writer Phil Berger, a former sports reporter for The New York Times, gets inside the boxing scene in Mariposa, New Mexico, and clearly understands technique and ring strategy—so well, in fact, that the characters are distinguished more by their rope work than their personalities. But the biggest problem with Price Of Glory is that it can't decide whether to be faithful to real life or to the crowd-pleasing arc of a conventional boxing movie. Just as Raging Bull couldn't end with Jake La Motta triumphantly hoisting the middleweight belt over his head, Smits' tyrannical grip over his sons' lives cannot be absolved by "the big fight." As it happens, the price of glory is enormously grave (not to mention horribly contrived), yet Berger and first-time feature director Carlos Ávila can't resist phony Hollywood uplift, even if it betrays the hard realities of their story. By the end, the film's logic twists into the perverse moral that it takes a monster to create a winner.