"Violence Begets Violence"
What You Need To Know:
SHADOWBOXER is a quirky thriller about the effects of violence and mortality on the human psyche. Thus, it has more on its mind than just thrills. Even so, the personal sexual dynamics in the movie are offensive. For one thing, Rose is old enough to be Mikey's mother. Also, the movie's violence and foul language are over-the-top. According to the filmmakers, SHADOWBOXER is trying to tell a story about love and redemption, but the final scenes are hardly redemptive.
(PaPa, B, C, H, LLL, VVV, SS, NN, A, D, MM) Strongly mixed pagan worldview with some apparent moral points, at least one positive reference to God and a couple minor Christian references, plus characters express humanist sentiments at least twice; about 71 mostly strong obscenities, two strong profanities and four light profanities; very strong violence such as assassins murder people for money, pointblank shootings, man beaten up, people tied up, and violence affects children who act out; depicted sex scenes, fornication, May-September romance, and implied adultery; brief upper female nudity and rear male nudity, plus upper male nudity; alcohol use; smoking; and, revenge and criminal behavior depicted, and female assassin for hire tells pregnant potential victim that six months ago she would have killed her.
SHADOWBOXER stars Cuba Gooding, Jr., as Mikey, a young hit man who saw his dead father beat his mother at a young age and has now taken up with his father’s white mistress, Rose, played by Helen Mirren. When a brutal crime boss wants his wife, Vickie, dead, Rose has a change of heart when they find she’s pregnant. Rose’s terminal cancer has given her a different perspective on life. Mikey, however, is not enthralled with Rose’s decision not to kill the pregnant woman.
Rose and Mikey spirit Vickie away, and the three begin a harrowing life on the run. Rose finally succumbs to cancer. Mikey eventually transfers his affection to the pretty young woman and her young son. Violence is the only way he knows how to protect them from the crime boss, but it has an enduring effect on Vickie’s son.
SHADOWBOXER is a quirky thriller about the effects of violence and mortality on the human psyche. Thus, it has more on its mind than just thrills. Even so, the personal sexual dynamics in the movie are offensive. For one thing, Rose is old enough to be Mikey’s mother. The movie doesn’t pick up their love affair until they’re adults, but it leads to uncomfortable speculation about what happened when Rose had to take care of young Mikey after his father died. Also, the movie’s violence and foul language are over-the-top.
According to the filmmakers in the movie’s production notes, SHADOWBOXER is trying to tell a story about love and redemption, but the final scenes suggest that, if you live by the sword, you can never escape the effect of violence. That is an important point to make about the negative effects of violence, but it’s hardly redemptive.
First-time director Lee Daniels, an up-and-coming African-American entrepreneur, definitely has filmmaking talent. His distribution company, Lee Daniels Entertainment, has yet, however, to market a truly redemptive or family-friendly movie. In fact, the company’s previous two releases were MONSTER’S BALL and THE WOODSMAN, neither of which MOVIEGUIDE(r) recommended.