“Price of Glory” is a film full of good intentions that simply does not deliver on the goods. It’s a boxing movie with very little boxing, and a rather non-dramatic family drama.
Arturo Ortega (Jimmy Smits) is a Mexican-American who was once a championship boxer, now retired, running a gym in an Arizona border town while living with his wife, Rita (Maria del Mar), and their three boys.
At first, Arturo is training the two oldest (Sonny and Jimmy) to be boxers, and saving the youngest (Johnny) for football. But Jimmy’s a bit of a slacker, and Sonny is not as dedicated as he could be, so Johnny winds up being Arturo’s pride and joy.
Jump ahead 10 years, when all three are teens. Johnny (Ernesto Hernandez) heeds his dad/trainer’s every word, while Jimmy (Clifton Collins, Jr.) — arguably the most promising of the three — still wants to do his own thing. Meanwhile, Sonny (Jon Seda), who is most commercially viable, is getting married and possibly looking for a manager who can give him more exposure.
Arturo is faced with a dilemma. He loves training his sons, but he knows that the oily promoter Nick Everson (Ron Perlman) can do more for their careers. What to do?
What to do, indeed. What Arturo does is have random, melodramatic outbursts that can only be attributed to having taken too many shots to the head in his heyday. The film’s loooong middle section drags on forever, mainly because we have no central conflict, or even a central plot. Arturo’s relationship with each boy is ill-defined. He’s disappointed with Jimmy’s attitude, yet he’s the one he first turns over to Everson as a means of making it to the big-time. Why not let Everson have the son Arturo thinks most deserves it?
The film ends with a pretty decent boxing sequence, but it’s about an hour and 45 minutes too late. The acting throughout is bland and flat, and the film is uncompelling and emotionally distant, like reading about it second-hand in the newspaper. You could stop watching at any moment and never wonder what ever happened in the end.
C- (; )