- The Washington Times - Friday, March 31, 2000

Jimmy Smits displays a conspicuous eye twitch in one of his earliest scenes as Arturo Ortega, the overzealous father who aspires to groom three sons for professional boxing careers in the fearlessly hokey and cliche-ridden prizefight saga "Price of Glory."
Savvy moviegoers will deduce that Arturo has already paid a steep price for devotion to the sport. Indeed, the prologue recalls a punishing bout of 25 years earlier, when Arturo ended up too battered to remain a title contender.
Director Carlos Avila returns to the ring so many times with the Ortega brood Clifton CollinsJr. as willing but less-than-stellar Jimmy; Jon Seda as steady but cerebral Sonny; and Ernesto Hernandez as precocious and ferocious but ill-fated Johnny that spectators would be well-advised to welcome a punch-drunk chronicle of father-son conflict, rivalry, estrangement and redemption.
Mr. Avila and writer Phil Berger wander so far out on a venerable melodramatic limb while inventing vicissitudes for the Ortega family that shooting the works is almost obligatory.
Boxing movies seldom try to impress spectators with deft jabs and fancy footwork. They go for the knockout. "Price of Glory" doesn't bother blazing a fresh trail but does tramp along the conventional one with exploitable gusto and corniness.
The "Fighting Ortegas" ultimately stop antagonizing and disappointing each other in order to reconcile for a grudge match that pits Sonny against an arrogant undefeated champion called Davey Lane, impersonated with understandable glee by Louis Mandylor.
It might be even more fun if Davey were revealed as a twilight Ortega, the offspring of some shameful but productive marital lapse on the part of hard-driving, self-defeating Arturo, whose methods alienate Sonny and Jimmy for extended interludes.
It's a bit of a feat to juggle a chronology that needs to account for a quartet of boxing careers in the same family.
Clearly, the focus would be easier to control if Arturo were training a single contender.
In this never-exquisite masculine context, it's the somewhat sinister kid brother, Johnny, who seems the natural, arousing title dreams in everyone who watches him fight.
Because Arturo has his own seniority agenda, however, the overmatched and self-pitying Jimmy must be taken over several career hurdles as a preamble.
Maria del Mar, as Mrs. Ortega, must suffer from the obvious fact that she's stuck in a man's world. Her token fretful appearances invariably are futile and funny, though meant to humble the bossy Arturo.
It's a hopelessly one-sided histrionic relationship. Mr. Smits has all the forceful and colorful bits, even when Arturo is supposed to be disgracing and harming himself.
He gets a particularly entertaining attack of rudeness at Thanksgiving, picking a fight with Sonny's prospective mother-in-law and ordering all the guests to vamoose.
The marriage day is depicted a little later, but I'm not sure the bride's mother can be spotted among the ensemble. I hoped to find her waving a restraining order to keep Arturo at a safe distance.
I'm not sure she makes the big title bout, either. That, too, may be written off as a "price of glory," an idiom that takes a baffling toll of the definite article.

One and 1/2 stars
TITLE: "Price of Glory"
RATING: PG-13 (Occasional profanity and graphic violence, mostly during the simulation of prizefights; interludes of domestic conflict)
CREDITS: Directed by Carlos Avila
RUNNING TIME: 113 minutes
MAXIMUM RATING: FOUR STARS


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