Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Jack O’Connell, Jessica Barden, Jonathan Majors, John Cullum
OUR RATING: ★★★½
Drama directed and co-written by Max Winkler. The story follows brothers Stanley (Charlie Hunnam) and Lion (Jack O’Connell), who are struggling to stay relevant in the underground world of bare-knuckle boxing. When Stanley fails to pay back a crime boss, Pepper (Jonathon Majors), they’re forced to deliver an unexpected traveler as they journey across the country for a high-stakes fighting tournament. While Stanley trains Lion for the fight of his life, a series of events threaten to tear the brothers apart, but their love for one another, and belief in a better life, keep them going.
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Stanley: We’re going to be good, Lion. Lion: Yeah. I know, man. Stanley: I mean, I can see it. I can see our future when I close my eyes. We got it all laid out in front of us. I can see our house. We each got a walk-in closet for all our silk shirts, and handmade Italian suits. You know where it is? Lion: In California. Stan, if I don’t go to sleep, I’m not going to win tomorrow. Stanley: We’re not going to lose. It’s fate.
Stanley: Something wonderful’s happening tonight, ladies. I can feel it! Beast from the northeast right there. Lion Kaminsky in the fight of the century. That right, bro? Clem: Would you shut up and go back to work?
Clem: Kaminsky, you’re a f***ing weasel, man. Stanley: Why you got to be like that, Clem? See, this is your problem. That’s why you’re going to be here for the rest of your life. Making tea towels and s**t. While me and Lion, we’re going to be over in California. Right, bro? Building the Lion brand. Making tracksuits, sweatshirts, getting s**ked off by movie stars. Clem: Well, who’s going to suck you off with them f***ed-up shoes?
Stanley: I mean, a win tonight will open up a lot of doors for us. We could change our lives tonight. Lion: Alright. Stanley: Come on, give me a little roar. Let me hear you roar. Lion: No, man. I’m trying to focus. Stanley: Give me a little roar, Lion. What, are you f***ing embarrassed in front of the dishwashers?
Stanley: You were supposed to win, Lion. Lion: You shouldn’t have lied to me, Stan. You told me you wasn’t going to deal with that scumbag no more. Stanley: Yeah, well, we needed the money.
Lion: Stanley, where the hell are we going to go, man? Stanley: You know, for a guy who hates moving as much as you do, you really don’t do much to help the cause. You were supposed to f***ing win!
Pepper: [to Stanley] You owe me money you don’t have. I could kill you tonight, but I’d never get a return on my investment. So, I’m offering you an opportunity. Jungleland. Battle Royale for a hundred K. Wild-a**, no-holds-barred, bare-knuckle event. A week from today. I can get you on the card. I could do that.
Lion: Why? Stanley: Let’s not look a gift horse in the mouth here. I mean, this is… Lion: No, I’m asking him why. Nothing for nothing with you. Right, Pep? Pepper: I saw you. I saw the way you moved before you took that dive. That look in your eye. That rage.
Pepper: Sky, meet Stan Kaminsky. Him and his brother, Lion, they’ll take you out west. Stanley: Come on, Pepper. I can’t be moving girls right now. Pepper: No, it ain’t like that. Stanley: I don’t know. Pepper: I’d handle it, or have one of my guys handle it. But, look, she’s a friend of the family.
Pepper: Take her to this address by this time next week, and Lion stays on the card. Stanley: [reads from the card] “Party Animals?” Pepper: Don’t f*** it up. Opportunities like this don’t knock twice.
Pepper: We’re in an economic boom, Kaminsky. Go forth, prosper.
Stanley: That’s quite an appetite you got on you. You ever take a break to talk? Sky: What’s with the rat tail? Lion: I had it since like forever. I’m thinking of cutting it. Stanley: No, you’re not. Sky: You should.
Stanley: That’s his lion’s tail. This gives him power. Look at him. He’s like a wild animal.
Stanley: Just last question. Are you like a… Sky: Am I what? Stanley: I mean, you know. A pro. Lion: Stan. Come on. Stanley: I just meant because of the circumstances. Sky: I’m not a hooker. It’s nice to know I make a good first impression though.
Stanley: We’ve been working towards something. Something very big, alright? I mean, these are spectacular goals we’re talking about. And since we got to spend the next week together, I just need there to be a level of trust between us, that’s all. Sky: I got to use the bathroom. Stanley: Again? Sky: I’m sorry. Is that in violation of your spectacular goals?
[as they enter their hotel room] Lion: There’s a hot tub. Sky: And only one bed. Stanley: [imitates radio static] Requesting backup. We got a hot tub situation over at the Venus de Milo. Going to need twelve Coors Lights and three Mountain Dews, stat.
Darlene: I like your pants. Stanley: Yeah? Thank you. They’re from Italy. I like the way they make my d**k look. [both laugh]
Sky: If I went to college, I wouldn’t waste my time playing stupid games like these rich pricks. Lion: Yeah, me neither. Sky: I bet you’d be too busy getting it on with all the girls, huh? Lion: No, I mean I’d be taking my classes real seriously because of how expensive it is.
Lion: You like to sew, right? I saw what you did at the hotel with the robe. And your name? It looked good like professional. Sky: Thank you. Lion: Me and Stan want to get our initials stitched onto some dress shirts. So, if we make a bit of money, hopefully we can afford your talents.
Sky: You got parents, or does Stanley cover that too? Lion: Our mom died when I was real young. Sky: What about your dad? Lion: Well, he didn’t want us, so. Sky: That must’ve been lonely, you know, not having any parents. Lion: Well, I always had my brother.
Sky: You got any scars? Lion: I got some. All on my hands though. Not on my face. Sky: Can I touch it? Lion: If you want. Go ahead. Just do it. [he winces jokingly as she goes to touch his hand]
Sky: You don’t seem like a boxer to me. Lion: What do you mean? Sky: I don’t know. You haven’t got that thing. Lion: What thing? This thing? [he poses like a boxer] Lion: I don’t walk around going like this to people? “What the f*** are you looking at, huh? I’m a f***ing ogre.” Sky: Exactly.
Sky: It’s a compliment. Lion: I’ll take the compliment. Maybe that’s my advantage. Sky: People underestimate you. Lion: I guess. Sky: Me too.
[to the guy at the bar Lion almost gets into a fight with over Sky] Stanley: Guys like us don’t have the luxury of settling things with credit cards. We got to go outside, you know? Mm-hmm. Toe to toe. On the street. But that’s not what you do, is it? Because you don’t know what it’s like to suffer. I mean, do you know what it’s like to be in pain? I’ve been to f***ing prison, man.
Stanley: You f***ing set me up, Pepper! Pepper: Listen, m*therf***er. I don’t owe you s**t. Alright? Of course I set you up. Yates? You know, Yates thinks you found Sky. He thinks you’re responsible. You know, you owe me a debt. Why the f*** am I going to look out for you? Hm? You look out for your brother. This is how it works. You said you wanted to go to Jungleland.
Sky: [to Lion] You have to let me get away from Yates. I made a deal, and I can’t get out of it. I f***ed up, really bad. And he is bad. He is a bad man in his heart.
Stanley: I feel for this girl. I really do. But she f***ing drugged you, man. Sky: It was just a Xanax. Stanley: Saturday night, we take what’s ours. The f***ing alternative is that he kills us. Do you hear what I’m saying? Do you trust me?
Lion: How are you? Sky: Like you give a s**t. Lion: I’m trying to be civil. I wish I could help you. Sky: But Stanley makes every decision for you. Lion: Well, you lied to me, you drugged me, and you smashed our car, so. Sky: Doesn’t mean I don’t like you.
[at Sky’s parents house] Stepfather McGinty: Boys, how do you know Mary? Stanley: We met at church. At a church group. Mother McGinty: That must have been a recent development.
Sky: I need some more money. Mother McGinty: What about all that money you made from that place where you danced? Sky: I didn’t come here to cause any trouble. I’m trying really hard to be good. Stepfather McGinty: If we gave you money again, what lesson would you have learned? Sky: So, is that a “no”?
Stanley: Everybody needs a little help from time to time. Sky: You can just say no. Lion: Exactly. Stanley: It’s brave to ask for help.
Mother McGinty: Mary, you’ll never outrun your circumstances if you continue down this path of sin. Sky: Well, you made it look really easy, mom, with your new life, and your new husband. Mother McGinty: You poison everything you come into contact with. But I’m not going to let you poison me. Get out of my house.
Sky: How much do you get for winning one of these things? Lion: A big fight? Couple hundred. Sky: You get your a** beaten for a couple hundred bucks?
Sky: Why don’t you box with gloves? Lion: Well, we got our license revoked. Stan tried to bribe a ref.
Sky: You’re not his possession. Lion: Yeah, I know. Sky: So why do you do it then? Can’t you do anything else? Lion: I got a business plan to open up a dry cleaners. Sky: A dry cleaners? Lion: Yeah.
Lion: Hey, tell me if this makes sense. So Stan likes his clothes, right? Sky: Yeah, right. Lion: No, he does. He likes to dress smart. On fight night, he really goes to town. And it’d be good for him. Something that he can put his mind to, be hyperactive and productive. What would happen is, say people got like important events, like weddings, or baptisms. So they need clothes for it. Instead of getting new clothes, they come to us, and we have them looking real f***ing smart. Like brand-f***ing-new. You see here? Look, the best part. “Kaminsky Kleaners.” Two Ks. That’ll be the hook. That’s how you get them. Kaminsky Kleaners. Sky: That’s not asking for that much.
Sky: [to Lion] You should stand up to your brother. Do what you want to do.
Sky: [referring to the theater stage] I was in so many stupid plays here. Thought I was really hot s**t. So I moved to New York to become a dancer. Lion: And then what? Sky: Well, I guess I wasn’t.
Lion: How did you come up with “Sky”? Sky: I read it in a book, and it sounded pretty. I wanted to be free. I met Yates in a club. Promised me he was going to fix everything, and he turned out to be a liar, just like everyone else. I’m the stupid one though. Lion: Well, I don’t think you’re stupid.
Stanley: I know what you’re trying to do, Sky. It’s not going to work. Me and him, we’re this close to our dream. I’m not going to let you, or anyone else f*** that up. Sky: You don’t know who I am. Stanley: I know Yates. Sky: You don’t know why I do what I do.
Stanley: Look, Sky, I just can’t let that kid wake up at forty, and wonder why he didn’t do what he was supposed to do when he had the chance. That kid is better at fighting than I ever been at anything in my life. I’m not trying to be a d**k, but probably you too. I mean, he’s special. And I’ll never know what that’s like.
[after Stan’s suggested a fight at the garage to get their car back] Lion: What the f***, Stan? Stanley: I need you to step up for the family. Lion: I’m recovering, man. Stanley: Come on, man. You can knock this guy out. Lion: You knock him out. Stanley: Hey, I’m cleaning up your mess here. Sky: It’s not his mess. It’s yours! Lion: Actually, it’s yours. So you want to butt out?
Stanley: Jesus. I feel like we’re in the f***ing Wookiee bar. Am I right?
Lion: [referring to Sky] Stan, we can’t do this, man. Stanley: Can’t do what? Lion: Take her to Yates. Stanley: Been through this, kid. It’s out of the question.
Lion: Why don’t we just bail and go somewhere else? F*** the fight, man. Stanley: Why do you keep making it like we got options? Like we got all these sweet deals, and people looking to hook us up? We don’t. Lion: We got options. Stanley: We got one option. Alright? We fight, that’s it. Lion: I fight. Stanley: That’s right. You fight, and I’m the business end of this company.
Lion: We’re not a company, man. We don’t have a front door. To have a company, you need a front door. All you do is… Stanley: What? All I do is what? Lion: Cling on. And ruin s**t. Stanley: Sky tell you that? Lion: Don’t make this about her, alright? I can think for myself.
Stanley: I dare you. Look me in the eyes, and say that again. Because I know it takes you a minute. Lion: You use me, and my talents, and what I’m good at. Everybody knows it. Stanley: Oh, really? Everyone knows it, huh? That’s something. You’re really something. You can’t do anything without me. I do everything. You got one talent. One. And that’s your fists.
Lion: Oh, I got things happening, alright? I got s**t going on. Stanley: Oh, what you got? Oh, you got some things? Lion: I got ideas. Stanley: What, your dry cleaning business? Lion: Yeah. Stanley: You can’t do s**t like that, man. Because you’re not smart.
Stanley: [to Lion] And what’s your plan, man? You think we’re going to get like a small business loan? Is that what you think? That we’re going to use our good credit to get a fine deal on some retail space? Get one of those f***ing machines that swirl around so you can find your pants? I mean, what are we talking about here? I use you?!
Stanley: [to Lion] Unbelievable. I mean, I make sure your hair’s cut. I teach you about fashion. I sleep on the hard floor so you always got a bed. I skip meals so that you’re never hungry. And what do you do? What do you do? Nothing. What do you say? Nothing. Ever. Do you know why? Because it never occurred to you to have any gratitude for the person who’s given you everything! I give you everything! I ask for nothing in return! And it’s a good job, because I don’t get it!
Stanley: You think I like living like this? You think I like having no possessions? I mean, I know I look like I got it all covered, but I’m tired, man. Lion: Hang on. Hang on. How many twenty-five year-olds you know got arthritis, huh? I got fingers that don’t bend. I forget s**t that happened yesterday, because my brain don’t f***ing work. You think your life’s hard, Stan? S**t, I’d be a professional boxer now if it wasn’t for you. Stanley: You are a professional boxer. Lion: No, I’m not. I fight guys two on one in parking lots so you don’t get another felony.
Lion: I’m supposed to protect my f***ing hands, Stan. I’m supposed to protect my hands. You got me a job at a f***ing sewing factory.
Stanley: [to Lion, referring to Sky] I love you. She doesn’t love you. Can’t you see that? She’s turning you against me, man.
Sky: I’m proud of you. Lion: For what? Sky: For standing up to him.
Lion: I care about you, Sky. I don’t think you deserve half this s**t you’re going through right now. I think you deserve a lot better. The way I feel right now is I want to go to the booth, pick a place, buy a ticket, and go. So let’s go pick a place and go somewhere. We could go anywhere. Where do you want to go? Pick a place. Do you like dry cleaning? You want to come dry clean with me? Let’s go do that. What do you want to do? We could do anything. Sky: Lion. Lion: What? Sky: Shut up.
[after finding out Sky is pregnant] Lion: Is it Yates’s? Sky: It’s mine.
Stanley: I swear to God, we didn’t touch her. She took my brother, and she f***ing ran. Yates: That feels like an untruth.
Yates: I’m a successful businessman. But I’ve come to the conclusion that possessions don’t matter. A house isn’t a home, unless you have someone to share it with. And in my heart, I think I might be a family man.
Yates: You’re not important anymore, Stanley. So, tell me where Sky is, or I’m going to eat your f***ing heart. You understand? We’re talking about my legacy here. Stanley: I don’t understand what’s happening. Yates: Sky belongs to me. [just then Lion shows up and starts shooting Yates’s men]
Lion: Let me put it to you like this. Sky’s gone. She ain’t ever coming back. Yates: She got her hooks into you too, eh? When you see her, don’t forget to tell her that boy she’s carrying belongs to me. And I don’t give a damn if I have to cut that baby out of her belly myself. Sky will never live to hold my boy in her arms. [Lion shoots him]
Stanley: Look, we don’t have to do this. We can just f***ing bail right now, start fresh. I mean, we done it a thousand times before. Let’s just get the f*** out of here. Go somewhere where no one knows us. Lion: No, we’re fighting. We’re fighting.
Stanley: [to Lion] You’re special. And you’re the greatest f***ing thing I ever saw. Nothing bad’s ever going to happen to you again. I’ll protect you, no matter what.
Stanley: [as Lion is about to fight] How you feeling? Lion: Like s**t. Out of shape. Unprepared. S**t.
Stanley: [referring to the robe] Where the f*** did you get that? Huh? Lion: Sky made it. Stanley: It’s beautiful. I mean, that’s a work of art. She’s got some real talent. You look like a f***ing prince. Like a king.
Stanley: [as Lion falls during the fight] Lion, open your eyes! Lion! Stay down. Just stay down, alright? You don’t have to do this. You already won! You can throw this. We’ll do something else like we always do. Just stay down, alright? Just let me call it. I love you. [suddenly Lion rises]
[as he hands himself the police for Yates’s murder] Stanley: I’m Stan Kaminsky. I believe you’re looking for me.
[after winning the fight] Lion: Where’s Stan? Where’s my brother? [then he sees Sky in the crowd]
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