The Good

All the cast give interesting performances.

The Bad

Somewhere along the line I got sort of confused.

Shadowboxer is one of those films that I didn't know how to take. It has independent sensibility in that is casts Mikey and Rose (Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Helen Mirren respectively) as two assassins who decide they can't do a job when they realize that the person they are going after is pregnant. As is usually the case in most movies about "hitpeople," the person who wants them to do the job isn't happy and now wants everyone dead. This puts the trio on the run where we get a deeper insight into all the characters. Eventually, this film has it's own version of denouement but what struck me most was how ultimately interesting the characters were.

There hasn't been a film like this (in my opinion) since the early 1990s when the indie film scene was beginning to establish itself more. While I don't think that Shadowboxer is a great movie, it has enough intrigue going on to keep viewers watching.



Lee Daniels and Cuba Gooding, Jr. do the talking here and while this isn't the most exciting commentary track I have ever heard, these guys certainly seem to respect one another. They discuss making the film, Cuba discusses why he wanted to be involved, what he thought of the character, and I really got a genuine sense that these two bonded through their work together.

Making Of

This is a simple look at the making of this movie. We hear from the various participants as they talk about how this movie came together, why it looks the way it does, and what it was like to work with such a talent rich cast. I especially liked getting to see this film in production, mainly because it's always interesting seeing how various sets are run. Lee Daniels certainly has his own style but it doesn't get in the way of the film he has made.


Aspect Ratio: Widescreen. This movie had a solid look but like Monster's Ball (which Daniels produced) I never felt that the visual style got in the way of anything. The story is simply told even as we get deeper and deeper into it. In fact, I liked that the more turns we took, the more this film seemed to clarify things in it's visual presentation.


Audio - English 5.1 Dolby Digital. There was a simple set up for the audio on this DVD. The sound seemed to brim just below the surface of the action, and then it was built up as the story called for it. It was nice to see an indie film (at least I think that's what this was) that didn't telegraph everything to the point that I could see it coming a million miles away. Kudos to all involved for playing it straight.


Cuba Gooding, Jr. takes up much of this front cover with images of the rest of the cast all around him. In fact, the image of him curiously recalls the front cover of the film he did called Dirty. The back portion of this amaray case showcases other members of the cast in color images, there is a description of the movie (read it before you watch), a Bonus Features listing, a cast list, and technical specs. All in all, the creators of this DVD have kept things pretty simple.

Final Word

I really thought the pairing of Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Helen Mirren was really inspired. I would never think to place these two in a movie together, simply because they seem to come from different generations and different schools. However, there really is something to be said for how stellar all the cast of Shadowboxer is. In addition to those two powerful actors you have Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Stephen Dorff and Mo'nique. Now I know none of these people are amazing box office draws, but collectively they have created a film that stands out because it unabashedly exists without calling attention to itself.

Shadowboxer is certainly worth a few rounds of your time.

Shadowboxer was released September 9, 2005.