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Ben Younger
Miles Teller, Aaron Eckhart, Katey Segal
Writing Credits:
Ben Younger

After a near fatal car crash, boxer Vinny Pazienza attempts a comeback.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English DVS
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 117 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 2/14/2017

• Deleted Scenes
• “Inspired by a Legend” Featurette
• “An Authentic World” Featurette
• Previews


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Bleed For This [Blu-Ray] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 31, 2023)

Movies love to portray stories of sports underdogs who rise to the top. For an extreme example of this genre, we go to 2016’s Bleed For This.

Set in the late 1980s and based on a true story, we meet boxer Vinny Pazienza (Miles Teller). After he works his way up the ranks, he eventually becomes the WBA World Light Middleweight champion.

A few days later, though, Vinny winds up in a car accident that causes him to suffer a severe neck injury that appears to leave his boxing career done. Vinny refuses to accept his fate and determines that he will make his way back to the ring.

Obviously that last paragraph reveals the major twist in Bleed. While “winning against the odds” sports stories remain a dime a dozen, Vinny’s ability to come back from shrinkingly small odds makes this one different.

In theory, that is. Despite the narrative curveball Vinny’s injury brings to Bleed, everything else about it seems Hollywood Cookie Cutter.

Which doesn’t necessarily seem like a terrible thing. Cliché stories can still make for entertaining tales.

One problem here comes from Vinny himself. For us to care about his path back from near-death, we need to care about him - and we don’t.

Well, not in a particularly strong manner, at least. Bleed largely leaves Vinny devoid of personality beyond stock “working class New England scrapper”.

When the film gives Vinny more than that, he tends to come across as superficial and cavalier, such as when we see him party and gamble the night before a big fight. The movie simply delivers little reason for us the bond with Vinny, and given his flaws, we may find ourselves less than sympathetic toward him.

Not that this means the movie makes him seem like a jerk who “deserves” his injury, of course. I just feel the story needs to give the audience a stronger love for Vinny if we intend to clearly invest in his path to recovery.

Beyond that issue, Bleed simply lacks creativity or spark. It delivers a collection of inspirational movie clichés without anything new or especially compelling here beyond the big twist of Vinny’s accident.

It doesn’t help that after Vinny gets hurt, we just don’t find much that we could call compelling. Largely we encounter a bunch of scenes in which Vinny says he’ll come back to the ring and others discourage him.

Really, that’s about it. The story lacks much depth and just tends to become fairly bland and redundant.

Again, Bleed just doesn’t deliver compelling characters. The cast tries their best, but the underwritten roles remain without much to lead to audience investment.

At its core, Vinny’s story remains stunning – and it should lead to a dynamic character drama. However, Bleed never gets where it needs to go, so it winds up as a mediocre underdog tale.

Footnote: archival footage of Vinny and others shows up during the end credits.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus C-

Bleed For This appears in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This turned into a good image.

Sharpness remained largely positive. Occasional softness hit some wider shots, but the majority of the movie showed nice clarity.

No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge haloes failed to mar the proceedings. Print flaws also never become an issue.

Unsurprisingly, the movie’s palette went with a mix of amber and teal. The Blu-ray rendered these well.

Blacks looked dark and tight. Shadows worked fine as well, with nice opacity. I thought the transfer was fine for the material.

Similar thoughts came with the movie’s respectable DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. The soundscape remained fairly restrained as only occasional scenes came to life in a prominent manner.

As expected, boxing sequences added involvement. Much of the movie remained chatty, though, so don’t expect a consistently vivid soundfield.

Audio quality appeared positive, with concise, natural dialogue. Music sounded vibrant and full, while effects boasted fine accuracy and heft. The soundtrack didn’t dazzle but it did what it needed to do.

As we move to extras, we get two brief featurettes: “Inspired By a Legend” (2:44) and “An Authentic World” (2:52). Across these, we hear from writer/director Ben Younger, boxer Vinny Pazienza, producers Chad A. Verdi and Bruce Cohen, and actors Miles Teller, Amanda Clayton and Aaron Eckhart.

The reels discuss story/characters as well as cast and performances, locations and Younger’s impact. Outside of a little behind the scenes footage and some glimpses of the real Vinny today, these programs feel fluffy and promotional.

Seven Deleted Scenes occupy a total of 11 minutes, 57 seconds. These tend toward more with supporting characters as well as some exposition. These seem reasonably interesting on their own, but given the movie feels long already, they made for good cuts.

The disc opens with ads for Snowden, Desierto, Nocturnal Animals, Loving, I Am Bolt and The Take. No trailer for Bleed appears here.

Previews adds promos for Triple 9, Spotlight, Dope, Rosewater, Nightcrawler, Chef and End of Watch.

Other than an amazing source story, Bleed For This cannot find much at its core to make it work. Fairly trite and bland, the movie never flops but it also does not use the potential of the material in a memorable manner. The Blu-ray comes with very good picture, acceptable audio and minor supplements. Bleed delivers a watchable but lackluster inspirational tale.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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