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A late-career change of heart leads to a dangerous life on the run for two seasoned assassins whose complex relationship masks a dark past in director Lee Daniels' pulpy film noir. When Mickey (Cuba Gooding Jr.) was just a child, his abusive father savagely murdered the young boy's mother shortly before being gunned down by Rose (Helen Mirren), Mickey's stepmother. Twenty years later, Mickey and Rose are not only working together as hired killers, but they have grown to become lovers as well. When Rose discovers she is dying of terminal cancer and becomes addicted to morphine, her… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 18%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Thumbs down to a movie of such vile and violent temper."
‑ Peter Howell, Toronto Star
"It ... has an insistently fussy and grandiose production design that mistakes lavish textures, brilliant colors and exotic backdrops for story atmosphere and style."
‑ Tom Keogh, Seattle Times
"Aaron Spelling may be slapping his forehead, but a few cemetary plots over, 1950's melodrama king Douglas Sirk is smiling."
‑ Amy Nicholson, I.E. Weekly
"Despite assembling a talented cast and crew, Daniels is stymied here by a script that takes itself far too seriously."
‑ Daniel Eagan, Film Journal International
"The script can't quite get a grasp on character depth, yet it also can't quite deliver the cheap thrills such a trashy tale might otherwise provide."
‑ David Cornelius,
"Gosh, it's almost too bad/good to be true."
‑ Rick Groen, Globe and Mail
"It tells a story that would fit perfectly in a standard Hollywood action thriller, but it tells it in the grammar and syntax of an art film. The two sensibilities make no sense together."
‑ Richard Nilsen, Arizona Republic
"The raw materials for a gutsy, gritty, fearless, fascinating thriller are here, but they amount to some intriguing individual parts and not a satisfying, cohesive whole."
‑ Michael Dequina,
"Mirren and Gooding are interesting -- and sexy -- to watch together. Once she leaves the film, the picture loses a bit of its uniqueness."
‑ Evan Henerson, Los Angeles Daily News
""Shadowboxer" is supposed to be concerned with how parents' lifestyles can be passed down to their children, but that is too simplistic here. The film, instead, is more a showcase of naked bodies, gory scenarios and over-the-top performances."
‑ Angela Baldassarre,
"The one thing I'll say about Shadowboxer is that it's never boring. Of course, I could also say that about stepping on crushed glass."
‑ Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper
"Arresting performances by Helen Mirren and Cuba Gooding Jr. are squandered on a moody thriller that has way too much mood and not nearly enough thrills."
‑ Jeff Strickler, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"This cat-and-mouse caper's Swiss cheese plotline is riddled with too many holes to consider this flick as much more than a snuff film."
‑ Kam Williams, Ban the N-Word
"That most wonderful of films, the kind that works on every level, but can't be easily pigeonholed."
‑ Andrea Chase, Killer Movie Reviews
"It's all so cliched in terms of personalities and full of such unbelievable situations that it's often downright laughable. And not in a good way."
‑ Jane Stevenson, Jam! Movies
More reviews for Shadowboxer on Rotten Tomatoes