Plot: What’s it about?
Bleed for This looked like one of those films that would be a sure thing. One that would become a modest hit during its release and resonate with critics and audiences alike. While the reviews were somewhat mixed, it seemed to come and go without much notice. You could blame this on a number of reasons, but maybe it’s simply the boxing genre isn’t a sure thing. Regardless, the film is definitely worth a look. While it might not be a knockout or instant classic, it tells a powerful story of overcoming the odds and features another strong performance from Miles Teller. I’ve never been a sports fan, so it’s easy to see why I hadn’t heard of Vinny Pazienza and his story until I saw this film. He’s a lightweight boxer who, after a car crash almost claims his life, leaves him with a halo around his neck for six months.
Miles Teller plays Vinny Pazienza and as the film begins we see him lose a fight against Roger Mayweather. Before his next fight, he’s bumped up a weight class and wins that fight. Things seem to be looking up for him, but one day as he and a friend are driving, they’re involved in a near fatal car accident. Vinny is in the passenger seat and is given some disturbing news. He may never walk again and the doctor says he wants to fuse his neck. The other alternative would be to have a halo around his neck, though the doctor strongly advises against this. Vinny refuses to have his neck fused, so the halo is indeed put around his neck. Even the slightest bump could set him back, but eventually he begins training again. He lives with his parents and keeps this fact hidden from his father. His trainer, Kevin Rooney (a hardly recognizable Aaron Eckhart) goes along with this and trains Vinny in the downstairs basement. He eventually builds up enough strength to indeed fight again. The accident doesn’t occur until about midway through the film and then we follow Vinny’s recovery and training.
While the film is hardly original and might not offer anything new, there’s just something so entertaining about it. It moves at a steady pace and gives us a nice and authentic look into Vinny’s life. While he’s front and center, we do get to see a good bit of his support group. His father and mother are given a decent amount of screen time, and Eckhart does a good job as his trainer as well. What’s nice about the film is the balance inside and outside of the ring. It doesn’t linger too long on one particular thing and balances it all rather nicely. There’s even the painful scene to watch as Vinny as the screws remove from his head after wearing the halo for six months. He refuses to go under as he has this done. While it might not rank up there with Rocky or other classics, Bleed more than holds its own and it worth a look.
Video: How’s it look?
The transfer does justice to the film and the setting as it adds to the authenticity of the film. One of the features on this disc takes a look at the shooting location and that’s something they got right. The print is clean and pristine and showcases details nicely. Colors are nice and smooth with no issues that I could detect. The transfer is AVC encoded with a 2.39:1 ratio.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The DTS HD track is also solid as well. There’s a good sense of surrounding as we hear crowds cheer, background banter and all that. Vocals are nice and crisp as well. The rear channels remained active throughout most of the track and helped involve us. Even the quieter moments work nicely. All things considered, this track acts as a nice compliment to the film.
Supplements: What are the extras?
I knew this would be the case as Universal tends to skimp on extras these days. A nice documentary or commentary track would’ve been welcome here, but we’re treated to only 2 brief features and some deleted scenes.
- Deleted Scenes – These are mostly repetitive, but still offer some interesting moments. A lot of the supporting characters are given more screen time here. There’s an amusing scene where Vinny’s father gets onto another trainer of his and eventually lets him go. None were essential to the film, but they’re nice to see.
- Inspired by a Legend – An all too brief feature with some quick interviews and film clips. It is worth watching, but largely promotional.
- An Authentic World – This is another short look at the shooting location and keeping things authentic. It’s good, but needed to be longer. Much longer.
The Bottom Line
It might not be an instant classic, but Bleed for this is well worth watching. Performances are all strong, especially from Teller in the lead. Universal’s disc is great as far as A/V goes, but the supplements (as expected) are sorely lacking. Rent it.