At some point in every actor’s life, they catch the director bug. Bruised is Halle Berry’s directorial debut, and in true actor fashion, her debut is a dramatic film following the life of a disgraced UFC fighter who ends up being reunited with her son and is forced to deal with her painful past while trying to keeping moving forward in the future.
I’m going to go ahead and get this out of the way now. This movie is entirely too long. Bruised is a smooth two hours and fifteen minutes and it could have been a tight hour and a half. The most exciting part of the movie was, of course, the fight at the end with Lady Killer. That’s when I had the most fun and started talking to the TV, but let’s talk about what it took to get there, shall we?
Halle Berry is a phenomenal actress. We all know this and I enjoyed her direction for this movie. The one thing this movie did not lack was emotion. I felt everything that Jackie was going through and that is what boosted this movie for me. However, it felt less like a movie with a beginning and end and more like we were following a UFC fighter who was on a reality TV show. Maybe that was a bit extreme. It had a very casual feel which is usually a good thing but I felt like a lot of things were tossed at Jackie at random. The kid threw me for a loop because there was never an indication that she had a kid. Remember when I said the emotion in this was good? Except for the part where she was speechless when the child showed up. I would have had deeper feelings during this time in the movie if there had been some mention of this kid before. The child was a catalyst for a lot of the things that followed, mainly Jackie getting her act together and training as hard as she could to potentially win the fight against Lady Killer. Let me explain this better. If you’ve watched the movie, then you may recall the scene where she talks to her trainer about why she got her ass handed to her in the fight we saw at the beginning of the film. She said she was out of it because she had just let Manny go. At this point, we’ve been introduced to this kid and have been trying to figure out their situation for about a hour and a half and now you want to tell us why he’s important? At the point at which she revealed this hidden truth, I did not care because what does that help me do at this point? And another thing, was I the only one who was waiting for Manny to tell her what happened to his dad? Just me? Ok. I would have appreciated the progression of the relationship between her and her son to have evolved into him saying more than “Thank You, Big.” Something else to gripe about. Black children know that when your momma says sit down and don’t move, she means sit down and don’t move. Someone forgot to teach Manny black child code, and someone make it make sense that he went to his grandma’s house. I don’t know about you but I don’t think anyone like grandma or her wigs.
I read something earlier where someone applauded Berry for not only taking on a role like this but also directing a movie like this given her past history with abuse. Applause for Berry for giving us that raw emotion. The relationship with her trainer and her mom were predictable and there was really no resolve. If you know me, you know I hate when something in a film is just left to make you wonder. No, you made this movie. Give me a proper ending or some sort of wrap up that makes sense. I get the artistic approach of coming up with my own ending and blah blah blah, but I didn’t come here for that. We didn’t need her manager/ex-boyfriend to have an ending dialogue but I needed and deserved more dialogue from the kid. I did wonder what happened to the trainer when she stole the bottle of liquor from the kitchen after leaving Jackie, but I didn’t need a full explanation of what happened. I did, however, need some resolve between Jackie and her mom because her trainer specifically said to her that the lack of relationship with her mother, or the unspoken things between them, was the reason for her blockage when it came to her being in the ring. When you set me up like that, I’m expecting to not just have her drop a bomb on her mom and run, but for that moment to come back around and there be an open and honest discussion about it. It was nice to see her watch her daughter fight and get all emotional about it but I didn’t feel all of that emotion because they didn’t remotely solve anything.
Did anyone else get Creed vibes from this movie? If you say you didn’t, you are a liar because the ending is exactly from the first Creed movie as well as the aforementioned scene with the mom watching the fight on TV. I’ve watched a few UFC fights and personally know an amateur fighter so I agree, she didn’t win; however, how many events have you seen or been to where the crowd cheers for the winner? I want movies to stop doing this. Sometimes you lose and that is it. Everyone can’t be a winner, everybody can’t get a trophy, so let’s keep that in mind when we make these movies.
If some parts of this story were moved around and we shaved off around an hour, this would be a better movie, but none of that happened. Like I said, Berry is a phenomenal actress and she did a great job directing but I was lacking that emotional attachment with Jackie that would have made the ending more palatable for me.
Creed…I mean Bruised is streaming on Netflix and once you see it, come back and argue with me, but I guarantee you’ll have some of the same thoughts.