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‘Hands of Stone’ Trailer: Robert De Niro Trains the Perfect Fighter

To say that Robert De Niro needs a hit movie isn’t exactly true. De Niro has been responsible for so many iconic films and characters over his 50 years of acting that he has pretty much earned the right to do whatever he pleases. If he wants to make sex comedies with Zac Efron, he can make sex comedies with Zac Ephron. If wants to only pop in for guest appearances in David O. Russell films, well, hey, he can do that to.

So no, Robert De Niro doesn’t need a hit, but it certainly wouldn’t do his reputation any harm to remind us that he’s still a Hollywood heavyweight. To that end, the full trailer for Hands of Stone seems like a return to form for De Niro. Here he has traded in his Raging Bull boxing gloves for a trainer’s towel, but the trailer suggests a character similar to himself, a former powerhouse looking to remind the world of his worth by mentoring another fighter. If De Niro is trying to tell us something about his career as a whole, I’m more than ready to listen.

And while people will see Hands of Stone in the hope of seeing vintage De Niro in action, the film hints at true breakout performances for both Edgar Ramirez as Roberto Duran and Usher Raymond IV as Sugar Ray Leonard. The former actor has certainly bounced around in interesting roles — he did his best with the Point Break remake and was rather fun in Deliver Us From Evil — but Usher Raymond IV looks to be a true revelation as he begins his acting career in earnest. Robert De Niro might be the one the Weinstein Company is using to sell tickets, but my guess is that Hands of Stone is more of a coming out party for the new talent than a retirement party for an old star.

Here is the full synopsis for Hands of Stone. There are a few historical notes that may ruin the movie here if you would like to be completely surprised:

Hands of Stone follows the life of Roberto Duran (Edgar Ramirez), the Panamanian fighter who made his professional debut in 1968 as a 16 year‐old and retired in 2002 at the age of 50. In June 1980, he defeated Sugar Ray Leonard (Usher Raymond) to capture the WBC welterweight title, but shocked the boxing world by returning to his corner in their November rematch, famously saying the words “no mas” (no more.)

Hands of Stone hits theaters on August 26th, 2016.

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