The Raging Bull sequel nobody was asking for
Ron Seifried | On 20, Jun 2014
Raging Bull is considered an American classic, deemed “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant” by the United States Congress, selected for preservation in the National Film Registry and currently holds a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Now there is a sequel.
Not an official sequel. Martin Scorsese, Robert DeNiro or any of the original cast is appearing in what was once called Raging Bull II: The Continuing Story of Jake LaMotta. Sunset Pictures was developing the “official” sequel with Jake LaMotta until MGM, owners of United Artists and the original film, filed a lawsuit against LaMotta and the producers to keep the film from being released. After a few months of open dialog with the press, the claim that LaMotta had rights to make a sequel to the original book (not the film) was not enough to consider the production a sequel. The producers retitled the film The Bronx Bull, and not claiming the new movie is a sequel, thereby not tarnishing the reputation of the 1980 film.
Raging Bull became more of a Martin Scorsese film and less a Jake LaMotta bio the moment it was released. LaMotta has every right to continue producing stories of his life, but taking advantage of the films iconic status was not in the cards. The Jake LaMotta legacy owes almost as much to Scorsese and DeNiro as it does to his career as a former World Middleweight Champion.
This legacy will become confused and met with ridicule with the release of The Bronx Bull, a new film directed by Martin Guigui , director of such memorable titles as My X-Girlfriend’s Wedding Reception and Cattle Call
Starring William Forsythe as the older LaMotta and Morjean Aria as the younger version covering events prior to Raging Bull, this has the makings of The Godfather Part II sequel/prequel approach, but without the stylistic cinematography, superior editing and talented cast and crew. Judging by the trailer, parts of the film looks to be shot on video. A low budget affair that resembles a fan-fiction film found on YouTube.
The cast includes a who’s who gallery of actors that had their limited success twenty years ago, including Joe Mantegna, Tom Sizemore, Penelope Ann Miller, Natasha Henstridge, Alicia With, Ray Wise, Harry Hamlin,James Russo and Paul Sorvino. Yes, that Paul Sorvino from Scorsese’s gangster classic Goodfellas.
Unlike Raging Bull, the film is shot mostly in color with some sequences in Black and White, a nostalgia feel more toward Scorsese’s version than the flashback sequences the trailer portrays. Some of the sets even look like they were rebuilt to specs from Raging Bull.
But this film has more heart the Raging Bull. So says William Forsythe stating “I understand that because it’s such an iconic, beautiful and amazing first film (Raging Bull) — one of the great films maybe of all time.But our story has a lot more heart and I think it’s a beautiful depiction of who Jake really is.”
This is not the Raging Bull sequel anyone was looking for.
Watch the trailer and judge for yourself