Anthony (William Demeo) does it, he finally wins the boxing championship, and his life is now complete. What to do now? Anthony sits down with Larry Merchant (played by Larry Merchant) to tell his life story. His life story is “Back in the Day,” a fictional boxing movie like many others, mixed with overblown mafia stereotypes.
Well, crap, I could give you the story, but that’s really about it, and that’s too bad.
I guess I’ll expand a bit…
The movie quickly shifts from Anthony winning the belt to Anthony as a child, and his “tough” life of being a hispanic kid growing up in an Italian neighborhood, with yea, the dad who is a drunk. His life is one disaster after another, from his dad leaving, to the loss of his mother, to always being put down for being hispanic, but as he got older he could box, thanks to the the heavy bag his dad had in the basement.
As Anthony gets older he may not have gotten the respect for being Italian, but the mob sees him fight, and they like it. Getting taken under the wing of Enzo (Michael Madsen), Enzo is continually trying to groom Anthony for a boxing career, complete with the proverbial training montages with his trainer, Eddie (Danny Glover), while also doing his best to keep him out of trouble, but Anthony is a boxer who has a dopey friend that keeps getting Anthony involved in fights. When Anthony and his buddy’s antics get a little too close to the mob’s made guys, his buddy, of course, has to get a bullet in the head, maybe.
Meanwhile, in the world of “whatever happened to?”, here comes Shannen Doherty, yes, that Shannen Doherty, as Maria, Anthony’s love interest who, of course, Anthony can’t have because she is hooked up with the made guy, Dominick.
The movie plods along, here comes another training montage, and as we know Anthony wins the big match. Hooray!
The movie has some big-named actors, and their acting is the thing that kind of saves the movie because for many of the other, and sadly main characters, the actors aren’t honed yet to take on the roles they were in with many of the kids and the mob guys being caricatures of who they are supposed to be, and bad caricatures with bad acting at that.
“Back in the Day” is the kind of movie that if the acting was a little better and some of the story not so cliche, especially the “mob” parts of the story, there was a lot of potential for something better. Sadly the movie kept falling apart and drifting back into the land of “and then then mob killed this guy.”
There was a kind of fun cameo of a Brooklyn native to inspire Anthony at his big, boxing match, and one of the ending scenes, I say “one of the ending scenes” because the ending scenes never seemed to end, but the final confrontation between Dominick (Ronnie Marmo) and Anthony was actually one of the better thought-out scenes in the movie. Then the movie didn’t end, trying to wrap up loose ends, and making things happy, when it didn’t need to wrap up those ends. That scene with Anthony and Dominick was happy enough – the movie didn’t need any more happiness.
Unfortunately for “Back in the Day” there are too many better boxing movies, too many better mob movies, and this attempt to mix the both didn’t work mostly because everything just seemed like a complete stereotype. The good actors helped, but not enough, so it’s 1 1/2 stars out of 5 for “Back in the Day.”
That’s it for this one! L8R!!