There's Joe Pesci again, playing the same Italian midget jackass he always plays. This sort of reminded me of Elvis' film career because Elvis was always playing himself too.
There's something wrong with a sport when the movies about it are more interesting than the sport itself. Imagine if Martin Scorsese made the same movie about professional wrestling. He'd probably have been tossed out of the director fraternity right into a job as the head of a major studio.
If there's supposed to be something intriguing about boxing, I don't know what it is. Two men beat the shit out of each other while aficionados insist on calling it "the sweet science." With fictional characters like Rocky Balboa and real boxers like Mike Tyson, the only "science" involved is in analyzing the dim psychopaths involved. The protagonist of this film, Jake LaMotta, is no better: a pathetic, paranoid psychopath who suspects that his wife, Vicki (Cathy Moriarty), brother, Joey (Joe Pesci), and everybody else is conspiring against him. Eventually, he ruins his life, going from middleweight champion of the world to a two-bit night club stand-up act. Lovely subject for a movie.
Maybe this film was interesting when it first came out, but it sure doesn't stand the test of time very well. First of all, the guy playing the local Mafia don is Coach from "Cheers." Every time his character implied that he might have to break somebody's legs, I had to laugh out loud. Also, there's Joe Pesci again, playing the same Italian midget jackass he always plays. This sort of reminded me of Elvis's film career because Elvis was always playing himself too.
Then there's Scorsese's whole angle on things. What's with the boxing scenes? Spit and blood are flying all over the place in slow motion and nothing looks the least bit real. Speaking of real, LaMotta supposedly marries Vicki when she's fifteen. Moriarty didn't look fifteen to me, unless it was dog years.
To spread the word about this Raging Bull review on Twitter.To get instant updates of Mr. Cranky reviews, subscribe to our RSS feed.