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.
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?