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(2005)

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10/10
Breaking All the Rules
sunbowei25 July 2006
Breaking conventional rules, Shadowboxer is dark, sexy, and very violent. On many levels the movie is uncomfortable to watch. All of the characters are flawed and the brazen sexuality and raw emotional performances, by a superb cast, is hard to watch at times. This is no popcorn movie but a thesis on age, sex, family, and violence. The direction was a little heavy handed, and in some scenes, it overshadowed the actors. Expect to see more in the future from Mo'nique in her break out role; and Macy Gray, as usual, was entertaining to watch. Cuba Gooding Jr, looking not much older than he was in the "Show me the money" days in his Oscar winning performance in Jerry Maguire, is superb. In fact, I think that his is an important role in the history of film. A black man as an object of sexual desire by an older white woman certainly breaks the norms. Their intimate relationship will test your own beliefs on age and race. But by the time you figure out where you stand, another scene will give you reason to pause and think. And I guess that's what I like most about the film--being forced to confront issues I rarely think about and being entertained at the same time.
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8/10
Found it very enjoyable and a good perf. from Cuba
tofferotti26 September 2005
I just saw this film in the directors cut version on Friday night. I have to say I really enjoyed it. Lee Daniels was at the screening and it was a screening for the investors so nobody was going to pull punches because they had money involved. It took a little while to get into the plot but I was totally sucked in after a while. It will supposedly be released in December and hopefully won't be cut down too much. There were some sex scenes that will probably go because some people in this country can't handle it, but nothing that I felt was gratuitous or just sex for the sake of showing some nudity. Some may also find the violence objectionable but nothing close to SinCity or any war movie ever made. I hope the film does well and the public enjoys it. Who cares what the industry has to say. They promote absolute garbage with a full wallet all the time. Check this one out and form an opinion for yourself.
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9/10
Disturbing, Brilliant Performances
paddyolguin26 January 2008
This is a movie you love or hate. I loved it. First, the "preposterous plot." Helen Mirren is a gorgeous woman. I had no problem believing Cuba's character would desire her in addition to be utterly loyal to her and dependent on her). I liked that the story's time-line was longer than just about any kind of crime thriller you'd see these days.

This is definitely not a popcorn movie, and you will find yourself shocked at the violence and then moved by the touching scenes. Nothing is exploitive or gratuitous in this film. The grisly violence, intense sexuality and touching interdependence of the characters serve to underscore just how absurdly varying a life (or lives) can be.

I think sometimes moviegoers expect too much from film. Not every movie is A Streetcar Named Desire. There were important, fundamental themes in this movie - love, lust, loyalty, guilt, shame... all brilliantly conveyed by the actors. If you have a problem with imperfect plots, rent a documentary.
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7/10
worth the time
don-brown6 August 2006
Movie has its flaws like the blonde wig that lasts for years and then disappears without comment but I have to admit that generally the movie was well crafted. It moves at a clip that supports its gory and odd characters. Some of the pairings are fabulous .. are there really people walking among us that are like that? I prefer to believe they only exist in screenwriters minds. Mirren is her usual superb self and Gooding shows he really can act. The question is were they in love or was he simply controlled by her. I did not look forward to a nude scene with a woman her age but it was handled extremely well. Also the music choices were excellent. I haven't seen any comments about that aspect of the film.
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3/10
Doesn't Live Up To Its Potential
movieoooo12 December 2005
I can't believe I'm agreeing with the other review but Cuba's role did erase snow dogs from my memory. He was phenomenal.

Thats about the only nice thing I can say about this film. It has a number of problems and I suspect Mr. Daniels would not like to hear any of them, the two worst:

1. All shock and no substance. Sex and violence are fine, when they are part of the story. I'm sure Lee thinks they are part of the story, but the film would have been 1000 times better if it were a bit more subtle. This is a difficult point to grasp. I wasn't offended or anything, I just think it looks like he is using this as a crutch instead of art. It comes across as trying to hard to be edgy. It basically loses its impact.

2. Boring Story. So ridiculously predictable. Its really a shame given the great acting and interesting characters. Total fizzle at the end though.

3. Doesn't live up to its potential. Well cast, great acting, beautiful cinematography, but somehow all the pieces just don't fit.
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6/10
Cleverly Weird!
bless15 June 2007
I must say that this film is extremely weird. The acting by Cuba Gooding Jr. is not surprising. He always lives up to the roles of the character in most of his movies. He was good. The producer used great colors and slow still images in all right scenes.(especially the love scenes). From start to finish this film is somewhat mysterious. It sticks with you after the ending credits are rolling. You would have to watch it and pay close attention to the dialogue to understand what is really happening. It's not an action movie(although there are scenes of violence), and the only thing that grabs your attention is how the movie actually ends. After seeing how it ends, i must say that the ending was very predictable(thats not to say that the ending was horrible, it was great). If you are into mystery movies you would want to pick this one up, but don't expect anything major. There should be a sequel!
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6/10
Breaks some rules alright
kosmasp8 October 2007
As another reviewer stated, this movie does break rules. But is that enough? And through all the rule-breaking, there still is a core/central storyline that does seem familiar, to say the least. OK so some people will/might be offended by the sexual nature of the movie and or maybe by the violence. Although the latter isn't quite as brutal as some other movie efforts, you might have seen. Why is this special then compared to those movies? The cast plays into that. Who would've imagined, Cuba Gooding Jr., Stephen Dorff and Helen Mirren (although only the latter is a real surprise here). A nice little movie, but apart from the obvious scenes that try to provoke a reaction (especially in America and the moral standards, that are implied by some), this isn't really a movie that I would call a classic! I thought it was OK, but it won't shake up your world ...
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5/10
pretty pretentious and ultimately unsatisfying
Kevin_Maness2 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This movie was pretentious and mediocre, at best. I liked the performances by Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Helen Mirren, and a decent job by Vanessa Ferlito (who I found difficult to enjoy when she appeared in season 3 of "24"). But the direction and cinematography were cloying and manipulative. There were all these hazy, diffused, slow-motion images of leaves falling and sun glinting and naked bodies rolling around in bed or on the ground. I think the director is one of many contemporary, pedestrian filmmakers whose only means of depicting emotion is a close-up of an actor emoting, and whose only means for showing intimacy between actors is a sex scene. Eventually, though, even though I admired Gooding's performance, I got tired of seeing the soft-focused, beefcake photography of his naked or semi-naked body.

And the writing fairly sucked, too. Not only was this yet another movie about an aging, dying assassin questioning his/her moral status and the existence of God, but the movie constantly brought up plot points and character conflicts that it, seemingly, had no interest in. What exactly is Gooding's relationship with Mirren? Who is the Gooding character? Is he anything other than a weird, incestuous, lover/son/boy-toy and business associate of Mirren's? There were other points that needed exploring as well, but the movie seemed to have no problem forgetting them, so I've already forgotten them as well. And there were other things, too, like elements of the story that were purely for the sake of narrative convenience. Like the entire character played by Stephen Dorff. I keep looking forward to the day when we get fed-up with movies that must establish early on that their villains are irredeemably evil sadists who deserve any horrible fate that awaits them in the final reel. But Daniels apparently doesn't think we've gotten to that point, yet. Another unexplained narrative convenience is the 5-6 years that pass in an instant so that the child in the movie is suddenly about 7-8 years old. I think the only reason for this is so that the kid is old enough to use a gun well enough to emerge as the filius ex machina at the end of the movie. Meanwhile, every other character, conflict, and relationship in the movie is in suspended animation while the kid gets old enough to be the budding little button man that he eventually becomes.

I guess that's one of my gripes. I think this could have been a better movie (still derivative, but stronger) if it had allowed Gooding's character to be the main character in the movie. But instead of revealing his character, all Daniels managed to do was to reveal was his stony face, rock-hard biceps, and trim buttocks. I didn't get anything close to a satisfying glimpse of what made him who he was, other than the clichéd childhood traumas concerning his hit-man father. But even if that was the anchor issue in his life, the movie doesn't reveal Gooding working through it or even the extent to which it matters to him. Apparently, the movie thinks this pop-psych backstory is important, since the movie ends with Gooding's life echoing in that of surrogate son, but since I never quite know what Gooding's childhood meant to him, I don't really care about what it might mean to the monstrous little Anthony who has magically learned to kill and be fine with it.

My sense is that in this film's rush to be important, it missed every opportunity to be "important" (whatever that means) as well as the chance just to be entertaining. It could have focused fruitfully on either Mirren's character or Gooding's, but instead it flitted from Mirren to Dorff to Gooding to the doctor and Mo'Nique, etc. I'm curious to see what happens when this movie gets out into the world (apparently in June). I can't imagine it being a wide release, but in the art house circuit it will compare very unfavorably to movies that are better directed and better written.
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7/10
Mr. Black's Grade: B
dvdguy20055 October 2005
Shadowboxer Mr. Black's Grade: B Starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Helen Mirren.

First-time director Lee Daniels, producer of two challenging projects, Monster's Ball and The Woodsman tries his hand behind the lens. Mirren plays a female assassin who is diagnosed with cancer, and decides to carry out a final killing assisted by Gooding.

Shadowboxer certainly is a dark film - think Prizzi's Honor but with a very different tone - but Helen Mirren handles this 'unique' relationship with tenderness and dignity. I thought the ending wasn't terribly suspenseful, and it should have been. I kept trying picture how a different, and more experienced director would handle it. A number of crew members were there for the Q/A, including the director. Heck, even a PA came in from Philly (you keener!) Wes Bentley was scheduled to co-star but dropped out.

His role was filled by Cuba Gooding Jr., who succeeded in erasing Snow Dogs from my memory. He is very good here, playing it straight and very cold. In the Q/A afterwards he talked about the differences between doing comedy and drama. He said that he is pursuing roles that allow humor to come from the actions of the character - like in this film - and not obvious comedy. He enjoyed the laughter that his character got from the crowd at the screening, when his character was reacting to situations within the plot and not 'trying' to be funny.
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7/10
Philadelphia Pulp
tjackson24 November 2009
Audacious may be the best word to describe this. It is filled with much of the same style and honesty that Lee Daniels brought to his next film 'Precious', making it a good primer for that noteworthy film. Though it can be highly sexual, violent, stylized, and filled with some baroque plot twists, it has a go-for-broke ingenuousness that makes it all work. It reminds me of Sweet Sweetback's Badaaass Song in the way it plays to what the director knows is a pulpy, inner city aesthetic, but that it is of his world, one filled with violence and unsavory characters. No one here is entirely sympathetic. It defies the stereotypes of more traditional formula driven films. There's no comforting message. Combine all this with his love for films like Sweet Charity and you have an odd film.

Daniels confidence in his own vision certainly applies to his notable casting choices that distinguish his films. He is a great director of actors and makes sure that they understand his own background and reasons for employing certain character types and situations. In Shadowboxer, Macy Grey is not only credible, but terrific (as was Mariah Carey in Precious). He gets an understated performance from Cuba Gooding Jr. which alone is a worthy achievement. Helen Mirren deserves accolades, for not just being the great actress one expects, but for maintaining needed integrity in what must have seemed a risky venture. She anchors the story beautifully in what are, to say the least, some bizarre situations. The casting of Mo'nique as lover to Joseph Gordon-Levitt is also wonderful. And Stephen Dorff's full frontal, Trojan and all, is on for the records. In fact, Lee Daniels general obsession with male beauty and asses is a theme in itself. Hello Gus Van Zant! I suppose in the wrong mood you could find the movie just over the top. Even though it's far a perfect film, it is great fun and shows Lee Daniels as a director of force and confidence.
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1/10
Lee Daniels: Not as Good as Ed Wood
klgrl8 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Now we know what a big budget Ed Wood movie would look like. Working from a script by an Academy Award nominated writer, with two Academy Award winning actors and a Spirit Award nominated cinematographer, director Lee Daniels manages to deliver a laughable mess. The story seems to take place in some bizarro world where everyone wears too much makeup, Doogie Howser lives with a grotesque crackhead, and most of the gangsters act like girlie boys. Cuba Gooding, Jr. spends most of the move looking annoyed or embarrassed. Joseph Gordon Levitt, Monique and Stephen Dorff give game performances, but even the great Helen Mirren can't overcome Daniels' ham-handed direction. While Shadowboxer displays all of Ed Wood's incompetence and unintentional humor, it has none of the charm that made Mr. Wood a cult favorite.
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8/10
The critics got this one flat out WRONG.
Rogue-3220 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Nearly all the professional critics panned this film, saying how over-the-top violent it is from start to finish (not true; there is violence but not throughout), how convoluted the story is (it's very easy to follow - you'd have to be an idiot not to be able to understand what's going on), how bad the acting is (an outright lie), and how gross the sex scenes between Helen Mirren and Cuba Gooding Jr are (they worked for me). Maybe in a few years or so, more people will discover this movie for themselves and find out how really good it actually is.

The film has a palpable doomed sort of atmosphere, which serves the project brilliantly, since all the major characters are seriously compromised in one way or another. This is a dark story, brought to life magnificently by everyone concerned. Helen Mirren brings the full brunt of her amazing ability to tap into the humanity of any character she portrays, Cuba Gooding Jr is perfect in a role that finally allows him to display at least some of his depth, Joseph Gordon-Levitt shines as always, Dorff comes through as he always does; even Macy Gray is good in this movie and I am not a fan.

The problem, I think, is that the critics were comparing this to other movies, specifically Quentin Tarantino's, and this is completely unfair. Shadowboxer creates its own reality, in which it functions very convincingly for the duration of the experience. I suggest you get a copy of the DVD, as I did, and discover it for yourself.
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5/10
Too Many Preposterous Story lines to Keep this Sleeper Alive
gradyharp13 November 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Lee Daniels (Monster's Ball, The Woodsmen) doesn't seem to know what to do with this script of a story by William Lipz that has so many incongruities that it simply becomes a muddled mélange of criminal psychology, sociological misfits, and ruminations on the presence of a greater meaning to all the wild madness that eventually drowns the characters. One wonders why such enormously gifted actors such as Helen Mirren and Cuba Gooding, Jr. ever accepted roles if they read the script beforehand.

A very mature and cancer-ridden Rose (Helen Mirren, who can truly make a silk purse out of a sow's ear!) is a professional assassin who has raised Mikey (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) to be her co-assassin as well as her very young lover. The two function well as a team and succeed in making a handsome living by killing people to whom they are assigned by a wheelchair-ridden broker. But when one of the marks is big time crime boss Clayton (Stephen Dorff at his most buff to date, eye candy persona) and his wife Vickie (Vanessa Ferlito), all goes well until Rose faces the problem that Vickie is pregnant, a fact that seems to create a sense of guilt and loss and causes her not only to spare her and also to deliver the male child. After calling in a corrupt doctor Dr. Don (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and is lover/nurse Precious (Mo'Nique) to help them out, Rose and Mikey harbor the new mother and child and sequester themselves to raise the child, a life style that allows Mikey to continue his assassin jobs while Rose finds happiness raising the young boy. But of course eventually the evil Clayton disrupts the flow of goodwill, gains information from the Precious after an adulterous office tryst, and it is face to face between Clayton and his wife and son and Rose and Mikey. The ending defies sharing, not only because it would mar the viewer's watching, but it borders on surrealistic bizarre images that are of questionable taste.

During all of this convoluted story we are given flashbacks that attempt to fill in the interstices in the plot: Mikey's relationship to his father, his first killing, Rose's introduction into crime etc. Granted there are some moments of quiet and beauty in all of this mess, but the true reason for sitting through it is the always satisfying presence of Helen Mirren (who actually gets us to believe her preposterous character and motivation) and Cuba Gooding, Jr. (who needs to change agents to get roles more important and conducive to his gifts). With so many fine stories waiting to be made into film one wonders why drivel such as this makes it to the screen on time! Grady Harp
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8/10
A Must See
JohnBrown7524113 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I thought this was a superb film! It reminds me of the modern day Shakespearian drama. Plenty of bloodshed, and sex, and bloodshed while having sex. It was great!

And Helen Mirren is excellent in it. She is beautiful, graceful and the epitome of most women half her age. She breathes life into the character Rose. I really empathized with the character's plight and the actions Cuba Gooding takes to ease her suffering.

I can not wait to see Helen Mirren's next film. I definitely thinks she should work with this budding director again. They make a great pair! Hey, maybe he should be her next leading man.
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2/10
"Feeling Protected Is Very Seductive" --- Rose (Helen Mirren)
Robert_Hearth24 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
"Shadowboxer" (2005)

Directed By: Lee Daniels

Starring: Cuba Gooding Jr., Helen Mirren, Stephen Dorff, Vanessa Ferlito, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mo'Nique, & Macy Gray

MPAA Rating: "R" (for strong graphic violence and sexuality, nudity, language and some drug use)

Every year, at least one actress gives the definitive performance of her lifetime. It is the performance she will be remembered for forever. Last year, we had Reese Witherspoon and Felicity Huffman in the two best female performances of the year. This year, it was very obvious that it would Helen Mirren's year to rule. People everywhere were buzzing about her phenomenal performance and the Academy Award seemed like a definite. That performance…was not in "Shadowboxer". It was in "The Queen". "Shadowboxer" is the movie that Helen Mirren will look back on with shame. I really was looking forward to "Shadowboxer". I'm a huge fan of Helen Mirren, and Cuba Gooding Jr. has done enough work to more than prove that he is competent (granted, "Boat Trip" was enough to discredit anyone). I even must admit that I have always thought that Mo'Nique is a good actress with a horrible choice in movies and the same goes for Stephen Dorff (hey, at least he has done some good films in the past). Lee Daniel was a first time director, but I was kind of excited to see a fresh face. He had already produced some phenomenal movies so I was thrilled to see what he would bring to the director's chair. So, what went wrong? Ah well, so many things just didn't work. This movie was a full-fledged disaster.

This movie had a shockingly preposterous plot. It was awkward, clumsily-executed, and had me chuckling in disbelief (this was not a good thing). What started as a bleak, cheerless drama quickly descended into melodramatic schlock with a cheesy, predictable ending. Rose (Mirren) and Mikey (Gooding) are two assassins who have been having an affair for quite some time. Mikey is also Rose's stepson (I can't make this stuff up). She is also dying of cancer. When vicious crime lord, Clayton (Dorff), hires Rose and Mikey to kill his supposedly unfaithful wife, the two agree without much hesitation…until Rose discovers that his wife, Vickie (Ferlito), is pregnant. Unexpectedly emotional, Rose cannot bring herself to kill the pregnant woman who just happens to go into labor as Rose arrives. Rose delivers the baby (because, you know, every hired assassin is trained in delivering babies) and, along with Mikey, takes Vickie and her child with them and the four begin a strange family (if "family" is the correct terminology). That is until Clayton finds out what happened and comes after them. Did I also mention that there is a doctor named Dr. Don (Gordon-Levitt) who assists them and who is dating Precious (Mo'Nique). This relationship is actually one of the most unnecessary and time-consuming aspects of the movie. I didn't buy it for one second, but I'll come back to that later. What could have been an intriguing plot (with some tweaking) turns into ninety-three minutes of painfully-obvious garbage.

The performances in "Shadowboxer" are actually quite good, all things considering. Helen Mirren is a fascinating actress. Watching her work is just an amazing experience every time and there is absolutely no difference here. She embraces the role and delivers the only character we can really care about. Cuba Gooding Jr. is also a good actor…but he has made mistake after mistake in choosing movie roles and "Shadowboxer" may very well be his biggest mistake yet. Granted his performance works, the movie just gives him nothing interesting to do or say. He populates such a dull, lifeless character that it bewilders me as to how he came off as credible as he did. Stephen Dorff another good actor (in my opinion) who really can't pick good movies--I mean, really, "Alone in the Dark" and "FeardotCom"! Here, he embraces his inner villain and comes off as a genuinely vile man (albeit clichéd and stereotypical). He made me hate him so his performance worked. Vanessa Ferlito is endearing and sympathetic. I felt for her character and felt that she was really the only relatable character in the bunch. She did a fine job. She did a fine job. Mo'Nique…well, well, well, she stars in yet another horrendous movie from 2006 (technically, this is a 2005 film, but I am counting it as a 2006 because it was released in 2006). Again, she does a nice job, but no one is going to take her seriously if she doesn't start choosing roles that people actually care to see.

I found myself disliking this movie so much that it surprised me. This movie is not as bad as such movies as "Little Man" and "Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector", but it appears to be worse. Why? Because, "Little Man" recognized the fact that it was not a good movie and was just ridiculous. "Shadowboxer" is so shockingly pretentious and self-loving that you can almost hear the filmmakers singing, "We are smart and wonderful! We will definitely win the Oscar!" in the background. But, this movie deserves nothing in terms of positive recognition. It deserves to be forgotten and dropped to the very bottom of the five dollar bin at Wal-Mart right beside "Little Man" and "Rest Stop" and "Phat Girlz". It is such a shame because it has a good cast and a promising fresh director. But, in the end, it doesn't matter how good a movie SHOULD have been…if the end product is nothing short of rubbish.

Final Thought: An overly-weird and downright awkward "thriller" with only one thing to offer: good performances.

Overall Rating: 2/10 (C-)
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5/10
Don't think, just do the job.
lost-in-limbo21 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Contract assassin Rose is diagnosed with cancer, and along with her stepson / lover Mikey, she decides their next assignment will be her last. Their job is to kill a gangster's wife, but Rose doesn't go through with it as she finds out she's pregnant, even though Mikey doesn't agree with her idea to hide her away. He goes through with it anyhow, because of the happiness it brings to Rose. Time passes by and Mikey is still doing his cold-hearted hits, but also he has become a father figure to the young boy.

Nice to look at, but it's all style and very little substance, which populates William Lipz's messy screenplay and encourages slick direction from Lee Daniels. With that in mind and its hip intentions, it still feels cheap. It wants to be daring and hard-core within its artsy visuals, but most of these moments feel forced and clumsy like the bafflingly kinky sex scenes and calculated mean streak of violence, as it all becomes extremely bland in its shallow repetitiveness. The quirky vibe just doesn't mix with its spiteful air. The plot has so many little diverting stories, which has too much coming and going that side-tracks from the central point and it leaves very little time to develop the characters and their situations. It seems be caught in two minds in how it wants to go, and it's hard to get any sort of rhythm and genuine quality due to it. This is far from your usual assassin story and that's how it wants you to perceive it as. But when it wasn't concentrating on the hits, it's pretty much doormat stuff. What added to that wonky stable was the superfluously stringent script, which thinks it's importantly poetic and emotionally deep than it actually is. The chemistry between the cast does seem to be lacking and more so unconvincing. Some performances were fine, but others weren't oh so great and Macy Grey was the main culprit with an tellingly embarrassing and cringe-worthy performance. Oh, it was painful. Cuba Gooding Jr. plays it coldly robotic, but portrays his character's inner workings with simple expressions and the elegance of Helen Mirren adds class, but still confuses. Stephen Doraff wasn't bad, as the sleazy crackpot head gangster. His performance was one nasty piece of work. Vanessa Ferlito is stirringly sound and Joseph Gordon-Levitt adds a cool little spark to his doctor character. Daniels' deadpan direction formats compelling visuals and flashed up action scenes in a swiftly executed manner. However the stunning visual eye can be undone by monotone pacing, where it can drag and labour on. And there's a strange fascination with showing ass. The musical score has whimsically harrowing touch that feels kinda like it's lifted from a TV movie and the digital shot photography is lyrically looping and smooth. The film is technically fine, but the material is an unfocused jumble.

Incoherently pretentious and clinically nasty, but some interesting elements do arise and you can only say that it a was nice try.
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2/10
Could have used more action
candwash16 February 2007
Warning: Spoilers
When I read the description on the movie case for this, I was expecting something faster paced than what it was. The description said they run for their lives, not buy a house and live there for years. The basic idea of the story line wasn't a bad one, it just didn't move as quickly as it could have.

I think Cuba Gooding Jr.'s acting was very stiff and not of his usual caliber. The writing could have been greatly improved on and the acting left a lot to be desired. Sex scenes that went too far as I feel most of them added nothing to the story other than several shots of Cuba's backside.

Would not recommend this movie to anyone unless they are bored or really want to see Cuba naked.
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2/10
really, really dull, so very very dull.
agwatt12 August 2007
This has to be one of the worst films I have ever seen that has genuine actors in it.Its not even so bad its laughable its just so bad, period.There are so many more movies to see before renting this god awful film. What were Helen Mirren and Cuba Gooding Jnr. thinking when they agreed to do this ? Must looked OK in script form.

Rent any of these before renting this.....Tomb Raider2,Biker Boyz,anything with Whoopi Goldberg (that includes A Knight in Camelot but maybe not Sister Act II)

Off now to watch Jaws 3, Dennis Quaid never made a bad movie ? Did he ??? Where's my copy of Zardoz.
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9/10
Exciting and Strong Performance from Cuba Gooding Jr.
alexrastin113 July 2006
I must say that I was pleasantly surprised when I saw this movie. After films like Boat Trip and Snow Dogs, I did not think Cuba Gooding Jr. could pull off such a rich and textured character. He plays a very believable hit-man. Helen Mirren and he have great chemistry. It was also great to see Monique in a serious dramatic role. After this film, I hope she gets offered more dramatic roles. The imagery used throughout the film is very intense. I lived in Philadelphia and I must say that I have never seen it look that beautiful before. The film is a nice examination of interpersonal relationships and is an extremely effective thriller. I would highly recommend this film to anyone who likes intelligent thrillers with good action. This is a strong follow up to The Woodsman for Lee Daniels and company. Hopefully we can expect more good films from Lee Daniels.
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3/10
predictable, violent and ridiculous
ignominia-124 September 2006
This was the worst movie I have seen in a long time. It was pointless, pretentious and did not make much sense. It contained sex scenes that were more graphic than you'd expect with such a cast. The sex (including a full view of a penis with condom)leads me to consider it a mix of porn and B-movie. What Mirren and Gooding were doing in this half baked movie I don't know, they probably needed the cash but this performance stains their fame as serious actors. Gratuitous violence; gratuitous nudity; a preference for naked jiggly butts. A cornucopia of stereotypes -bad guys without nuances; the obviousness of redemption through motherhood; all amounting to a series of boring and predictable scenes. The only saving grace was Macy Gray's wacko character but she disappeared too soon. Cuba Gooding is expressionless in lieu of looking tough (he probably hated the film and barely acted). Helen Mirren attempts to portray an amoral American killer and fails ,she should stick to the British tight-ass female characters she portrays best. Finally I found Vanessa Ferlito's looks quite creepy - she seems to have been a victim of Michael Jackson's surgeon -check the nostril reduction/lips engorgement weirdness in the scene when she talks to Macy Gray on the phone!) All and all a movie to watch for laughs...
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5/10
Grammar correction
scarlettsdad2 February 2019
Okay, this isn't a review but I couldn't put this under goofs...and it's been bugging me.

In the scene where Clayton's lawyer (?) is in a hallway arguing with a woman wanting money, she says, "Define 'soon,'" and the lawyer says it's a noun. That is grammatically incorrect. "Soon," is an adverb. Phew. Glad I finally got that off my chest.

Oh, and I felt the movie was mediocre at best. Even the great Helen Mirren couldn't save it.
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2/10
Not sure what I just watched
Leofwine_draca12 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
When I stuck SHADOWBOXER on I wasn't quite sure what to expect. What I got was a lame action comedy with a large cast of bizarre characters and plenty of graphic sex scenes which add nothing to the storyline and do nothing for the viewer either. The result is one of the weirdest, most amateurish Hollywood films I've seen, a frankly embarrassing blot on the careers of those involved.

A slumming-it Cuba Gooding Jr. plays a top assassin who just so happens to be having an affair with the miscast Helen Mirren, another assassin who is dying of cancer. Just a word about Mirren in this film: horrible. Her sex scenes with Gooding Jr. are frankly one of the most excruciating things I can remember watching in recent years and merely mentioning them makes me shudder. I don't know why these posh British actresses keep getting cast in action movies (Mirren went on to be in the RED films and Emily Blunt is another) but they stand out like sore thumbs and are always very wooden and unconvincing.

The rest of the film is a mish-mash of supposed funny scenes, violence, and plenty of bad taste. Poor old Stephen Dorff plays the villain of the piece and has an embarrassing nude scene. The script is terrible with dialogue that rings hollow throughout. The less said about Macy Gray and Joseph Gordon-Levitt the better. SHADOWBOXER is the kind movie I wish I'd never had the misfortune to see.
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6/10
Surprising and surprisingly good
dbborroughs28 December 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Cuba Gooding Jr and Helen Mirren are hit men lovers who fail to kill a pregnant woman and so take it on the lamb.

Good but unremarkable noirish tale isn't worth much beyond being a time killer. Its clear why Mirren took the role which contrasts with her recent award winning ones. What works in the film is that it kind of confounds expectations. Things don't go as planned and the actors are seemingly playing against type. Who ever thought of pairing Cuba Gooding with Mirren should be rewarded since it keeps things interesting from the get go. While I certain think ts worth seeing, I'd wait to run across it on cable
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1/10
Limp, Shock-seeking Dreck. Worst Movie of the Decade So Far.
euvertrue28 June 2006
It's stunning how someone with Helen Mirren and Joseph Gordon-Levitt can crank out such an awful picture. Even more stunning, when you add in the presence of Macy Gray, Cuba Gooding Jr., and the occasionally brilliant Dorff. But somehow, Daniels manages to direct everyone right into a swirling vortex of overacting and ludicrously manipulative story lines.Nobody survives this perfect storm, except perhaps Mo'nique, whose turn as a crack-addicted nurse is the sole good performance in the film.

The film also features some of the worst, most predictably bad writing that I have ever witnessed. Plot points don't connect, characters change motivations in mid-performance, and not a single actor is given a role with any significant depth to it. Even the characters that are obviously intended to be complex (i.e. Mirren's and Gooding's) end up flat and caricatured. Why did any of these actors agree to star in such a horrifyingly awful film?

Quite simply, this movie is a mess. Not a hot mess, just a mess. Give it a miss.
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8/10
Great acting! good script but not great !
atanasez9 March 2007
Cuba G.Jr. acts very, very well. I think this is his last good movie till now; if you saw "End game", you'll understand why... Hellen M. is a great actress from the old school but in this movie shows that acting has unlimited possibilities. Yes, the story is interesting but a little bit fantastic- i'd loved the "tabu" scenes about the relationship between Rose and Mickey...the movie is about "strange" relations:Rose-Micky,Precious-Dr.Don, Vickie-Clayton.

Vickie's role in the all picture is ...almost zero; I think her only duty is to make a connection between Micky and Anthony... It's not exactly a family movie but you have to see it!
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