By Terri Lee Sylvester

DETROIT (WWJ) – What do you “bleed” for? For former boxing champion Vinny Pazienza, it’s his love of boxing, something the new movie “Bleed for This” makes plainly clear. The movie tells Pazienza’s amazing true story.

On second thought, to say this story is amazing might be too much of an understatement. Incredible may actually be a better word. Why? Well, shortly after Pazienza, AKA Vinny Paz, AKA “The Pazmanian Devil,” takes down French boxer Gilbert Dele’ and is crowned Super Middleweight Champion of the world, he’s involved in a head-on crash that leaves him with a broken neck. Doctors recommend that Paz undergo spinal fusion surgery, but knowing that his career would be ended, he instead chooses the much more riskier “halo” spine-stabilization treatment, which requires him to wear a circular metal brace screwed directly into his skull for six months. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to go through a surgical procedure such as that; in fact, I cringe even thinking about it.

But, Paz does go through with the surgery and he defies the odds, first by walking again; something doctors told him he would never be able to do. He also secretly returns to training and, eventually, to the boxing ring.

Over the years, I’ve seen a number of excellent boxing movies, including most recently, “Hands of Stone,” which tells the very inspiring story of Roberto Duran. But, what sets this movie apart from the rest is Paz’s sheer determination to never give up and to keep fighting for his dream.

What do you “bleed” for?

For anyone who’s ever had a dream that they refuse to give up on, this movie can serve as proof that it’s definitely worth the effort to keep pushing forward. Boxing fan or not, this movie is certainly worth a trip to the movies.

Award-winning actor Miles Teller stars as Vinny Pazienza. He’s joined by Ted Levine as fight promoter Lou Duva; Aaron Eckhart as trainer Kevin Rooney; Ciaran Hinds stars as Paziena’s devoted father, Angelo; and Katey Sagal stars as his mother, Louise. The screenplay was written and the movie directed by Ben Younger; executive producer is none other than Martin Scorsese.

See you at the movies!

Be sure to tune in to WWJ Newsradio 950 every Friday for my weekly look at the movies with Midday Anchor Jackie Paige.

Follow Terri on Twitter @TerriJLee

Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA)
Detroit Film Critics Society (DFCS)
African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA)
Digital Arts, Film & Television (DAFT)
National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ)


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