I expected to like this, but had my misgivings on the Kurt Sutter script. While I enjoyed the first season of Sons of Anarchy, the rest of them and Sutter's ridiculous social media presence and macho bullshit have long ago turned me off his projects.
On the other hand, I like sports movies and I like Gyllenhaal .
For most of the movie, I felt like Gyllenhaal, getting my ass beaten by cliches building upon cliches. The aforementioned macho bullshit mar an already weak script by trying extra hard to make things dramatic. Our hero is a winner, he's rich, he has a loving family, he dominates in the ring, but he does all this by letting himself get beat on because apparently he won't block or dodge. Apparently he does this because he's super tough and then he gets angry on the last round, hulks out and beats his opponent.
I'm no boxing expert, but I can tell you that's the dumbest shit you've ever heard. While there is such a thing as tiring out your opponent, nobody goes in the ring with the intention to get right hooks to the face for twenty minutes.
I wont spoil the plot, but suddenly, overly dramatic thing happens and this leads our protagonist to lose literally everything. His wife, custody of his daughter, his house, his money (early on he's giving out platinum Rolexes to his buddies, but six months later he's homeless. What.), his friends and his career.
He takes about a week to wallow in this and then gets back on the horse by getting a shitty job in a shitty gym that a has-been coach runs (Forest Whitaker), intending to reclaim his throne.
If you haven't had enough of cliches yet, the rest of the movie plays out like Rocky, only significantly dumber; the whole fight hangs on the use of the titular Southpaw stance, as if Gyllenhaal is a fucking Power Ranger striking his power pose.
However, it's not all bad (it's pretty bad). Gyllenhaal does the best with the lines he's given, 50 Cent was born to play the shifty, shitty manager and some of the bit roles are pretty good.
2 out 5 Left Uppercuts.
P.S. Sons of Anarchy sucks, go fuck yourself.