Will ‘Raging Bull II’ be a contender? (photos)

The original, of course, is a Martin Scorsese classic, with blistering, raw performances by Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci.

A scene from Raging Bull 2, scheduled for 2013 release.
A scene from Raging Bull 2, scheduled for 2013 release.

Middleweight champ Jake LaMotta is mounting a come back!

Did you know Raging Bull  II is in production? The film, directed by Martin Guigui (National Lampoon Cattle Call), stars Tom Sizemore, Pennelope Anne Miller, William Forsythe, and Joe Mantegna. I’m not so sure this sounds like the greatest idea; it’s hard to fathom it would rival Godfather 2 in terms of that rare, exceptional sequel (so common, though, in the video game industry). I could be wrong. Check out these stills their L.A. PR reps sent me.

Raging Bull 2

According to reps, the sequel will let us get to know the young boxer better. Since the original featured an adult Lamotta, we’re not privy to his childhood and “real-life struggle of a down-and-out pugilist.” Lamotta himself was reportedly on set providing guidance during the shoot.

The original, of course, is a Martin Scorsese classic, with blistering, raw performances by Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci. AFI ranks it the fourth best film of all time. You wouldn’t be far off to suggest this would be like making a sequel to Citizen Kane or Casablanca. Or maybe it would be like adding robotic prequels to the Star Wars franchise, and tampering with classic effects/storylines… oh wait a sec…

Shot in black and white, Raging Bull is like a Lee Strasberg acting how-to video. One scene after the next illustrates two performers at the top of their games. In particular, when De Niro and Pesci are calmly talking in an apartment on a warm summer day, neighborhood voices drifting in the background through an open window: “Do me a favor? I want you to hit me in the face,” says Lamotta/De Niro.  What’s it prove? For one, Lamotta was quite the character. But it also highlights a time when films didn’t need so much cgi, so much post-production to tell a compelling story; still, it’s worth noting the fight scenes are impressive (though the artifical sound effects might  be the film’s only weakness).

As De Niro says in the stunning monologue/Brando homage, “I coulda’ had class. I coulda’ been a contender. ”

Will we be saying the same thing about Raging Bull II next year?

WATCH: Raging Bull – “Hit me in the face”

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  • Greg

    To answer your question: zero chance! The director’s body of work doesn’t suggest talent anywhere near the level of a Scorsese. His filmography does indicate it may have some basic exploitation value, however. The cast isn’t bad, but they’re basically B listers. I predict a very spotty, brief release in the theatres, or maybe even straight to home video…..

  • Greg

    Raging Bull, as good as it is, has always been a wee bit overrated IMO. On the Waterfront, of which it pays homage, is a superior film, albeit not as technically proficient. I’ve seen RB many times, and I have yet to be able to become emotionally engaged. Citizen Kane has much the same effect on me. On the other hand, Elephant Man, nominated that same year for the best picture Oscar, is underrated. Ordinary People won, and although it may not be a film for the ages, at least it evoked an visceral reaction – when I saw it in 1980 the audience applauded for at least a half-a-minute. I’ve never experienced anything like in the cinema before or since!