Finally, a film in which Cuba Gooding Jr. not only stars, but actually acts. The solid performances are the saving grace of this otherwise overwrought thriller about a twisted pair of assassins (Gooding and Helen Mirren, in the most blatantly Oedipal relationship since, well, Oedipus) who take one of their victims on the run after a crisis of conscience.
Shadowboxer has a decent sins-of-the-fathers story and some great talent to work with--Gooding proves a capable, nuanced antihero. But the artificially staged and lush visuals are at such odds with the reserved, subtle performances that you'll wish director Lee Daniels had done away with the pretense and just pointed the camera at the actors and yelled "Action!" The rest of Shadowboxer might as well go back in the box.
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