Riddled equally with bullets and gangster-movie cliches, this brawling action picture blends elements of THE GODFATHER (1972) and GOLDEN BOY (1939), using prizefighting to symbolize the psychological struggle of a teenager fighting off his father's violent heritage. Having botched his own shot at Olympic boxing glory with a misdemeanor arrest in his youth, low-level Mafioso Augie Donatello (Anthony John Denison) forces his sensitive son, Bryant (Billy Warlock), to follow in his sparring footsteps. For Augie, violence is always the answer, whether it's in the ring, on the mean streets or at home, where he beats up his alcoholic wife, Kathy (Cathy Moriarty), who's tormented by Augie's infidelity. Augie oversteps his authority and orders the garroting of a debtor without getting the okay from his superiors, and also sells a strip club to a low-life named Red (Tony Pierce), whose mob sponsor, Tootie (Anthony Ponzini), washes his hands of Red's future losses. Bryant, meanwhile, is training for the Golden Gloves preliminaries, and must endure taunts about his friendship with a gay schoolmate, Larry (Kenny Morrison). Already insecure about his own sexuality, Bryant is astonished to discover that his macho dad has a transvestite lover. In order to prove himself, Bryant must reject both his father's brutality and his hypocrisy. Anthony John Denison, Cathy Moriarty, and Billy Warlock all bring great nuance and complexity to their roles, despite the simplified conflicts and gangland stereotypes raging around them. As a domestic drama about fury on the homefront, the film is an intelligent exploration of spousal battery and its effect on a child expected to serve as his parents' referee. But as a Mafia picture, it needlessly caricatures its low-level thugs.
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- Released: 1999
- Rating: R
- Review: Riddled equally with bullets and gangster-movie cliches, this brawling action picture blends elements of THE GODFATHER (1972) and GOLDEN BOY (1939), using prizefighting to symbolize the psychological struggle of a teenager fighting off his father's violent… (more)