Sunday, November 28, 2021

Bruised - Movie Review

The Movie: Bruised

The Director: Halle Berry

The Cast: Halle Berry, Adan Canto, Shamier Anderson, Danny Boyd, Jr., Adriane Lenox, Sheila Atim, Valentina Shevchenko, Stephen McKinley Henderson

The Story: A disgraced MMA fighter finds redemption in the cage and the courage to face her demons when the son she had given up as an infant unexpectedly reenters her life.

The Review:
For Halle Berry's directorial debut, she has also decided to take on the lead role in one of those physically transformative performances that can leave you wondering if you are even looking at the same person on screen that you have always known. Berry has taken on just about any type of role you could ever think of over the course of her career and it's that versatility that has allowed her to stay in the upper echelon of people working in Hollywood over the last couple decades.

I'll always remember Berry's feature film debut as Vivian, a drugged out junkie, alongside Samuel L Jackson in Spike Lee's Jungle Fever and then in what most would consider her breakout performance as the woman who captured Eddie Murphy's heart in Boomerang. Since then, she has played super heroes, assassins, a Bond girl, and pretty much everything in between and yet I would still say Jackie Justice might just be the most challenging role yet in a hall of fame worthy career.

Watching this movie, it's pretty obvious how important of a project this is for Berry and how much of her heart and soul she poured into it. The drama is heavy and the fight scenes are pretty brutal. This isn't a Rocky style movie where the fighters pummel each other in the face for an hour and come out relatively unscathed. There's a very raw, gritty, and textured quality that took a bit to digest, but about halfway through I really started to enjoy the movie. This is one of those movies that if you're willing to invest your time, the payoff is well worth it.

That being said, this movie may not have the chops to go toe to toe against other awards contenders, you know, the ones that pack a big emotional punch and deliver knockout blows that leave audiences cheering. This is more of a mid card standout that gets the job done and leaves you satisfied with a very workman like effort. One thing to note is the soundtrack is pretty great with songs from Saweetie, Bad Bunny & Rosalía, and H.E.R. among many others.

The Verdict:
Bruised delivers plenty of jabs and body blows but fails to throw that knock out punch to win the championship. Halle Berry's debut effort as a director shows that she's a contender but could still use more training before going toe to toe with other Hollywood heavyweights.

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