Shadowboxer is an emotionally-charged, full-throttle thriller, which delves deep into the harsh underworld of organized crime and uncovers the complex lives of trained assassins, Mikey (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and Rose (Helen Mi... more »rren). But when a brutal crime boss wants his wife dead, Rose decides against killing the pregnant woman. Instead, the three begin a harrowing life on the run. Driven by fierce love, Rose and Mikey protect their adopted family from present danger ? looking to redeem their tragic past.« less
"When Rose (Helen Mirren, PRIME SUSPECT), a professional hitwoman, decides to renege on a contract and let an intended corpse and her baby live, her partner Mikey (Cuba Gooding, Jr.) knows their world is about to change drastically. They've been partners since he was a kid and she was the woman who partnered with his father on professional killings. She taught him everything about the art of killing. Clayton (Stephen Dorff), the crime boss who hired them to kill his wife and unborn child, is a truly psychotic animal. The problem is, Rose is dying of cancer and wants to leave something good behind. And she believes it will be this child.
Lee Daniels directed the movie as well as MONSTER'S BALL, another ethnic thriller that slammed audiences with sex and violence and gave Halle Berry the chance to win an Academy Award. Helen Mirren starred in the PRIME SUSPECT seasons on the BBC as well as THE QUEEN. Cuba Gooding, Jr. has been in several movies, including JERRY MAGUIRE, MEN OF HONOR, and SNOW DOGS. Stephen Dorff starred in BLADE and COVERT ONE: THE HADES FACTOR.
The film showcased developing characters and a telescoped plot that spread over years. Viewers are forced to read between the lines on some of the continuity, and to make judgment calls where the characters and action are concerned. The fascinating thing about the film is the dichotomy of how caring and how cold-blooded Rose and Mikey are, and the horror of Vickie's situation, never truly able to take care of herself or her child. Normally a film like this carries the views along on action alone, but there was a depth of character that allowed for fascination to set it. I simply couldn't stop watching to see how things came out, and on more than one occasion I didn't see a twist coming till it slammed me between the eyes.
There is a lot of sexuality, nudity, and violence in the movie, but it's genuine and real. Not gratuitious. This is a world of violent people, and it's presented with the carnality that's in that world.
SHADOWBOXER is a different kind of crime film. It has a lot of film noir elements, but they're presented in a different mix. If you liked A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, you'll probably enjoy SHADOWBOXER."
Best Twisted Love Story!!!
C. Herron | Oklahoma | 11/14/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It blows my mind how such an excellent action packed twisted movie came through the theaters without a trace. I was glued to my seat throughout the entire movie. I was just blown away with the twisted love relationship between Cuba Goodin and Helen Mirren. All I can say is see it for yourself and you be the judge. This movie will go into my collection..."
Outrageous, preposterous and not believable. But I couldn't
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 01/20/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This 2005 film has all my favorite elements - sex and violence. It's also fast paced and exciting and, even though the plot is absolutely preposterous, I had no trouble following the twists and turns and constant surprises. It packs a lot of wallop into its 90 minutes of pure wild story, and I was involved and intrigued the entire time.
Hats off to a great cast too! Helen Mirrin, cast as Rose, is paired with Cuba Gooding cast as Mikey, as the most unlikely couple in the world. Not only is the relationship interracial, but she is 22 years older than him and he is her stepson. The screen sizzles with their romantic interludes and there is no doubt they love each other. To top off the outrageousness of it all, they make their living as contract killers. She just happens to be dying of cancer though and has agreed to do one last job.
Enter the crime lord bad guy played by Stephen Dorff who we first see torturing a man he thinks is having an affair with his wife. His wife, played by Vanessa Ferlito, is the one that he wants murdered and of course it is Rose and Mikey who he hires to do the job. Rose, dressed in black, enters the wife's bedroom with the intent of killing her. But the wife just happens to be 9 months pregnant and Helen and Mikey wind up delivering the baby and running away with the mother and child to hide. That's the basis of the plot and it gets even more outrageous as the story goes on. I loved it because it was different and that it dared to show one particular explicit coupling of Rose and Mike that will long be remembered.
This whole film is not believable. But I didn't realize it until after the film was over. While it was going on, I just couldn't take my eyes off the screen. "
Man of Vision | Atlanta,GA | 11/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film has an interesting story involving a hitwoman's relationship to a young boy. She mentored and sexed him crazy. One of the hits was a pregant woman and.... I don't want to give too much away but it is a good movie. This is for mature audiences for there is language, nudity, sexual situations."
Could Have Been Much Better
DKMI | Detroit, Michigan | 10/20/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I found the storyline interesting in Shadowboxer. Helen Mirren and Cuba Gooding Jr. as assassins also intrigued me. Helen Mirren made the movie for me. She commanded every scene she was in. Cuba Gooding Jr. did a nice job considering the dialog (or lack thereof) he was given.
The premise is loadedd with possibilities. An assassin kills her partner and takes in his child son, who in turn becomes her partner - and more. Oh, the possibilities..... not in this movie. They are hired to kill a mobster's (Stephen Dorf) wife, but seeing she is pregnant, they spare her and take her in and help her raise her child. Obviously, life isn't going to be a cake walk for these folks. Eventually the situation blows up in the faces of all involved.
It's how the story became what it was that made this only a so-so movie. While having some interesting characters on one hand, the other hand is loaded with Hollywood cliches. An overweight, ghetto-speaking, nurse that wears a uniform that barely covers her rear, a doctor whose actions make no sense, and a mobster that is so over the top that it turns the movie into a fairy tale. People are shot as if it's no big deal to cover up. It's how these secondary characters talk and interact that makes this movie lose its credibility. Sometimes the bad guys have to be smart too.
By the end, any sane person has lost faith in the story. In fact, the whole problem the movie is based on could have easily been solved by assassinating the mobster. No having to live on the run or in hiding. Shadowboxer loosly reminds me of a much better film with a similar subject,The Professional. I was hoping to find elements of that movie in a more dramatic fashion. Unfortunately, this one doesn't quite live up to its promise."