Finally, a character who doesn’t put us through the emotional ringer. Serving largely as comic relief in Snatch (but which character doesn’t?), Mickey quickly becomes an instrument of vengeance and the ultimate wild card. O’Neil serves as a representation of the uncertainty the promoters on both sides must face in the crooked world of unlicensed boxing.
He’s an unintelligible boxing gypsy that can knock anyone out with one punch. And he’s my favorite fighter on this list.
The remarkable aspect of so many boxing films is that they are based on true stories that compel audiences to develop allegiances to characters that, generally, aren’t exactly great human beings. Such is the case with The Hurricane, a study of Rubin Carter, a boxer who was originally made famous in a Bob Dylan song in which spoke out against Carter’s incarceration for a triple murder.
Sure, the story follows Carter more out of the ring and during his legal struggles than it does during his boxing career, but that’s only because Carter’s plight (portrayed brilliantly by Denzel Washington) in the courtroom outshines his fights in the ring.
Now HERE’S a caricature. The Great White Hype exists as a satire of the world of boxing, playing up all the stereotypes depicted not only in the actual world of boxing, but in boxing films as well. The sleazy promoter, the cocky champ, and the upstart Irish underdog are all presented through the lens of a documentary filmmaker. While so many films are quick to show all boxers as salt of the earth scrapsters, this film and this character (played with no shortage of ham by Damon Wayans) present us with a character contemporary boxing fans are all too familiar with: the entitled prima donna.
We’d be rooting against him the whole time if every other character in the film wasn’t so shitty.