From Owen Gleiberman’s Variety review, filed during 2016 Cannes Film Festival: “Directed by the Venezuelan-born Jonathan Jakubowicz, who also wrote the script, Hands of Stone punches ahead in a conventional, aggressive, no-frills way.
“At this point, of course, the bar for boxing films has been set rather staggeringly high. Raging Bull turned the pugilistic melodrama into Shakespearean blood opera (it also had the greatest fight scenes that had ever been staged), and in recent years other movies have only built upon its achievement. The Fighter, with its dizzying use of hand-held camera, put the audience even more close-up into the ring, and Creed, with its fight scenes coming at you in astonishingly fluid unbroken takes, upped the existential intensity.
“Hands of Stone, by contrast, gets the job done, but it’s hard to escape the feeling that you’re watching a routinely conceived, rather generic boxing flick. It’s utterly competent, yet it makes Duran’s story seem a little so-what? The movie may wind up being positioned as yet another ‘prestige’ spectacle of fight-club awards bait, but in this case the prospects look modest.”