Fans of Hollywood dramas and those made queasy by violence, should give Price of Glory a chance.
Following Arturo Ortega (Jimmy Smits), a boxer who failed to win a championship in his youth because his manager fixed the fight, Price of Glory spins the tale of Arturo and his three sons. Arturo slowly becomes the boxing equivalent of an over-enthusiastic, somewhat ballistic hockey parent, as he ruthlessly trains his sons into strong, independent boxers.
The movie takes place in a Mexican-American town in Arizona, and opens with two six-year-old children boxing in a tournament. It’s amazing what parents will make their children do.
The boys grow into young adults who are accomplished, professional boxers with Arturo as their manager. Before long, money and slimy agents begin to loom as possible infringements on the deep relationship the father and his boys.
The eldest, Sonny (Jon Seda), lacks what it takes to become a champion, although he has ample opportunity to succeed. The middle son, Jimmy (Clifton Collins Jr.), is physically and mentally capable, but doesn’t have the drive to achieve the title. Youngest son Johnny (Ernesto Hernandez) is the family’s best chance at winning the championship belt.
All three understand Arturo’s motives and that their father is living vicariously through them. It gives them a purpose for training and the fire to keep fighting in order to protect the family name. The Mexican-American culture is emphasized as family oriented and proud.
As the movie progressed, you find yourself cheering for the Ortega boys during their brutal fights. One begins to appreciate the tedious labour involved with the training required to win a championship. One fight occurs in Las Vegas, where the lights, money, and overall excitement riles the audience.
However, a struggle develops between the boys when shady managers promise more attention and bigger promotions than Arturo can provide. Tension builds in the family and breaks apart at an important time.
Smits’ Arturo was hot-headed, irrational and disrespectful. He was able to create a persona completely opposite of his NYPD Blue character. Seda, Collins, and Hernandez were believable and fun to watch; they looked like guys who box.
Maria Del Mar portrayed Arturo’s wife Rita, and although she had a minor role, she managed to develop a sincere relationship with the audience. Rita was the one who hesitantly encouraged her sons to fight because of her husband’s confidence in his actions. However, when Sonny begins using drugs to cope with the pressures of boxing, Rita begins to resent the sport. The rest of the movie pulls on heart strings as we see her become more distant from the family and lonely.
Price of Glory is a couples movie; the macho half of the couple will be satisfied with the intense and disfiguring boxing matches and the more emotional person can enjoy the well written discourse and fabulous panoramic shots of the Arizona desert. Although, I must warn you, the Mexican-American culture is beautiful and addictive.