Movie Review: “Patriots Day”

Starring
Mark Wahlberg, J.K. Simmons, John Goodman, Kevin Bacon, Alex Wolff, Themo Melikidze, Michelle Monaghan, Jimmy O. Yang, Melissa Benoist
Director
Peter Berg

Over the last few years, director Peter Berg has carved out a nice little niche for himself making unapologetically patriotic films about real-life heroism in the face of adversity. Much like “Lone Survivor” and “Deepwater Horizon,” Berg’s third collaboration with Mark Wahlberg doesn’t really have anything important to say politically, but it’s their finest movie to date and perhaps their most meaningful one due to the actor’s close ties to the city of Boston. Though some people will question whether “Patriots Day” arrives too soon after the true events that inspired the film, Berg does the story justice with his gripping yet tactful retelling of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the five-day investigation that followed.

The movie begins on the morning of April 15, 2013 and introduces several of the key players involved in the tragic event, including Boston cop Sgt. Tommy Saunders (Wahlberg), Chinese exchange student Dun Meng (Jimmy O. Yang), Watertown police officer Sgt. Jeffrey Pugliese (J.K. Simmons) and the bombers themselves, Kyrgyzstani-American brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev (Alex Wolff and Themo Melikidze, respectively), who detonate the homemade bombs about four hours into the race and then return home to watch the ensuing chaos on TV. Meanwhile, law enforcement officials work together under the guidance of FBI Special Agent Richard DesLauriers (Kevin Bacon) and Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis (John Goodman) to recreate the crime scene and comb through hours of video surveillance in order to identify the suspects, eventually leading to a manhunt through the streets of Boston and the surrounding suburbs to capture them.

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A chat with UFC President Dana White

dana_white

It wasn’t that long ago that the Ultimate Fighting Championship announced its network deal with FOX. The deal was reached in August of 2011, and since that time, the UFC has held six live events on the national network, with the seventh event taking place this Saturday.

UFC on FOX will be held from the HP Pavilion in San Jose and airs live on FOX on April 20 at 8 pm ET. For the fourth time, the UFC will headline its FOX card with a championship bout, as lightweight champion Benson Henderson defends his title against former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez.

The FOX card also features a heavyweight clash between former UFC champion Frank Mir and Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix champion Daniel Cormier, who is making his UFC debut. Lightweights Nate Diaz and Josh Thomson and welterweights Jordan Mein and Matt Brown complete the main card. Six preliminary fights will air live on FX beginning at 5 pm ET and the prelims and main card can also be viewed on FOX Deportes.

The man behind all the action this weekend is UFC President Dana White, who took some time out of his busy schedule to talk with us about Saturday’s card, the UFC’s partnership with FOX, and the buzz around the new women’s bantamweight division. White, a Boston native, also gives his thoughts on the tragic Boston Marathon attack on Monday afternoon.

BULLZ-EYE: Thanks for your time Dana. Can you give everybody a little rundown of the UFC on FOX 7 event that is taking place this Saturday night in San Jose?

DANA WHITE: One of the things I was really excited about with this deal with FOX was being able to bring big fights back to free television. That has always been my goal since we bought this company. Coming off “The Ultimate Fighter” finale last weekend, every fight was sick, it was an amazing finale. We pulled 1.7 million viewers. We were the highest-rated thing on network and cable television with males 18-34. This fight on FOX is going to be a big one. Ben Henderson is defending his lightweight title again, this time against Gilbert Melendez, who is probably the toughest guy at 155 pounds that has never had a shot in the UFC. Everybody thinks this guy might be the best in the world, so we are going to find out on Saturday.

BE: When Ben Henderson came into the UFC from the WEC, what were your initial thoughts on where he fit in at 155, and have you been impressed with what he has done thus far in the octagon?

DANA WHITE: Absolutely. You never really know about a fight or a fighter until the fight happens, but Ben has been phenomenal. If you look at the guys that he has beaten since he has been here, he’s been outstanding.

BE: You have a lot of former Strikeforce fighters competing and being featured on this card. How have you assessed the Strikeforce fighters and their performance in the UFC thus far?

DANA WHITE: I have been thrilled with the Strikeforce fighters. A lot of bad stuff happened at Strikeforce. A lot of guys didn’t get paid for a while and these guys are hungry. First of all, they are happy to be back fighting and getting paid to do it. These guys want to prove to the world that they can fight and become the best in the world. The UFC is the place to do that. These guys have been fighting like maniacs, and I love it.

BE: There can be a lot of added emotion and pressure when you fight for the first time in the UFC. We saw that with Cat Zingano last Saturday as she was fighting back tears just walking out to the octagon. How do you think fighters like Melendez and Daniel Cormier will handle fighting in the UFC for the first time?

DANA WHITE: I think they are going to be fine. They have had big fights on TV before. I think it is tough if it is your first time on TV and you are making your UFC debut, but these guys have had big fights before. Cormier fought Josh Barnett — that’s a big fight. I think they are going to do fine.

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