If you’re still obsessed with the Will Smith-Chris Rock incident at the 2022 Oscars, then this month’s streaming selection is for you.
The 2022 Academy Awards ceremony was memorable for all the wrong reasons [LINK].
If your gossip-sodden circles of friends and family are anything like ours, then you may still be arguing about the morality of Will Smith slapping Chris Rock in the face (aka Slapgate, The Slappening) – on stage with millions watching on TV – after the comedian made a joke about Smith’s wife and her alopecia.
We thought it might be worth reminding ourselves what the talented duo actually do for a living, and it’s our firm belief that altercations like this are only acceptable in make-believe or staged form – fake fisticuffs in other words.
All of these films can be streamed now on Amazon Prime Video, which Vodafone Pay Monthly mobile customers can add to their plans for a low monthly fee.
Chris Rock’s alopecia joke – at Jada Pinkett Smith’s expense – was especially surprising given that he fronted this 2009 documentary about the tangled relationship between African American women, their hairstyles and white Western standards of physical beauty. It’s a fascinating topic rarely acknowledged outside Black communities.
Enemy of the State
While this late Nineties action thriller is quite predictable, it’s somewhat prescient with its plot about mass surveillance and intelligence agents engaged in a nefarious conspiracy to undermine civil liberties. While the plot resolves itself far too neatly, there’s still the potent on-screen chemistry between Will Smith and Gene Hackman to enjoy.
2 Days in New York
Romantic comedies set in New York City are a dime a dozen, but this effort by Julie Delpy is better than most. The French star not only wrote and directed it, but also takes a leading role alongside Chris Rock. It’s a quirky, screwball affair that’s as much about French-American culture clashes and family turbulence as it is about romance.
Loosely based on the life of notoriously violent British prisoner Charles Bronson, this film is an intensely energetic yet eccentric affair. It’s not for the faint of heart though, given its virulently aggressive protagonist. If that doesn’t put you off, then you’ll be rewarded with a star-making turn by Tom Hardy as Bronson in one of his earliest performances.
For a more frolick-filled flick full of fantastical fisticuffs, try Real Steel. Hugh Jackman plays an ex-boxer who no longer throws punches himself, but instead builds hulking yet colourful robots that are pitted in the ring against other androids. Alongside all this sporty sci-fi is a surprisingly affecting father-son story.
Films about boxing tend to outnumber those about wrestling. The latter camp does have The Wrestler in its corner though. It’s a melancholy yet thoughtful and soulful tale about a past-his-prime wrestler struggling with his career, health, love and family life. Director Darren Aronofsky draws out a superbly nuanced performance from former boxer Mickey Rourke.
The first rule about Fight Club is that you don’t spoil the ending of Fight Club for people who haven’t seen this cult classic. Edward Norton plays a nameless and chronically unhappy salesman who joins a mysterious underworld bare knuckle fight club. The plot then takes him – and the audience – on an unforgettable ride. If nothing else, you’ll never look at soap in quite the same way ever again.
This pugilistic round-up wouldn’t be complete without Sylvester Stallone’s Oscar-laden Rocky series, which should need no introduction, as well as the sequel Creed series of films. Almost the entire line-up is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video with the exception of the director’s cut of Rocky IV (you’ll have to settle for the shallower theatrical version) and Creed II, which is currently only available for an extra fee.