"Counterpunch" Fails to Really Connect

Just about every movie about sports, whether it aims for the tone of inspirational, comedic, or simply dramatic, tends to end with that big redemptive game with the all-or-nothing outcome. Kenneth Castillo’s boxing drama Counterpunch is no different, except that it downplays that final fight in a way that seems entirely accidental. It has most of the necessary elements to be a touching, personal story of perseverance and redemption, but by the time the final fight starts, the context of boxing feels like a sidenote more than the film’s driving force and so it’s hard to care who wins in the end. In fact, it’s not even clear the main character cares, and that makes the film’s final third seem rather obligatory more than anything else.

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