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Film / Hands of Stone

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Hands of Stone is a 2016 American biographical sports film. It is directed and written by Jonathan Jakubowicz. It stars Édgar Ramírez, Robert De Niro, Usher, Rubén Blades, Ellen Barkin, Ana de Armas, Jurnee Smollett, Óscar Jaenada and John Turturro.

The film follows the career of Panamanian professional boxer Roberto Durán (Ramírez), his association with legendary American boxing trainer Ray Arcel (De Niro), and his rivalry with Sugar Ray Leonard (Usher), including their infamous "No más" (English: "No more") fight, in which Durán quit by supposedly saying those words.

This film contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Durán grows disrespectful of Ray Leonard out of arrogance and hatred for America, and starts taunting him at every occasion. After his victory, he starts losing passion in boxing and engages in debauchery, much to everyone's dismay. It's not until a string of unfortunate events (his best friend dying, his wife being disgusted by his hedonistic behavior, and Leonard outright humiliating him with a taste of his own taunting tactics during the rematch) that Durán is humbled down. After the controversial rematch and a moment of lucidity, Durán decides to make amends and come back into the boxing ring with renewed passion.
  • Brick Joke: Plomo tells a young Roberto that if he steps out of line and does something stupid he'll put him back in jail himself. Decades later, Roberto has just spent months screwing up back to back, from being unfaithful to his wife to overeating before a fight and alienating his friends, Plomo then takes him back to jail so he can get into brawls with prisoners to get him back into the fighter mentality.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Durán and Leonard eventually become friends after having two fights together, the former winning the first one and the latter the second.
  • Freudian Excuse: Durán's hatred for America stems from his childhood, where he was abandoned by his father, an American soldier, and lived through the period of tensions between Panama and the U.S.. This unconsciously seeps into his feud with American boxer Ray Leonard.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Felicidad, played by Ana de Armas. She and Durán have some intimate scenes together, and the viewer gets a good look at her lovely body in each of them.
  • Never Accepted in His Hometown: While "never" might be incorrect, this is more or less what happens to Durán after submitting defeat in the "No Más" Fight; he faces angry protests upon his return to his home country of Panama, and he doesn't restore his popularity there until winning his fight against Davey Moore.
  • The Dreaded: In short, Durán. Many people are legit terrified of him, and he even throws Leonard for a complete loop before their first fight by acting like a complete savage. He lives up to it, as his moniker "Mano de Piedra" ("Hands of Stone") comes across as quite accurate with 70 career knockouts to his credit. Ray Leonard once remarked "Every punch Durán hit me with felt like bricks."
  • The Rival: Durán and Leonard for each other. After a really intense feud, Durán eventually apologizes for his remarks to Leonard, he accepts them, and the two become friends.
  • A Taste of Their Own Medicine: After Durán's victory over Leonard in their first championship match, the latter vows to take revenge by humiliating Durán in a rematch, taunting him the same way Durán did to Leonard at the start of their feud. Sure enough, it works so well, Durán is emotionally and psychologically defeated, and abandons the rematch, much to his fans' and the media's outrage.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The epilogue shows what happened to the characters' real life equivalents after the events of the film: Leonard and Durán remain friends until now, and Ray Arcel was the first boxing trainer to be elected to the Boxing Hall of Fame and died of leukemia in 1994 after a six-year battle.