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'Back in the Day' is a punch-drunk retread of much better boxing dramas

'Back in the Day' is a punch-drunk retread of much better boxing dramas
William DeMeo, left, wrote and stars with Danny Glover in the boxing drama "Back in the Day." (Lisa Petz)

It's understandable why "Back in the Day" was not made available to critics for advance screening.

We've already seen it — many, many times before.

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A stagy "Raging Bull" meets "Rocky" hybrid that tosses every boxing movie cliché into the ring yet fails to land a single convincing punch, the two-hour production plods on listlessly despite a supporting cast including Alec Baldwin, Danny Glover and Michael Madsen.

The film's screenwriter, William DeMeo, also plays the lead role of half-Italian, half-Puerto Rican Anthony Rodriguez, a decent kid who learned to fend for himself in the mean streets of Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, after the departure of his abusive, drunken father and death of his hard-working mother.

He's soon taken under the wing of a pair of mob bosses (Madsen and Baldwin) who hook him up with a fatherly trainer (Glover), while Anthony pines for the supportive but already spoken for Maria (Shannen Doherty).

Leaving aside the acknowledgment that DeMeo, whose performance amounts to a series of reaction shots, is no De Niro or Stallone and Doherty is no Cathy Moriarty/Talia Shire, is the fact that director Paul Borghese, who previously attempted to ape Scorsese with his 2013 mob drama, "Once Upon a Time in Brooklyn," is content to simply rehash shopworn tropes.

Going up against such bracing dialogue as, "Guys like us, we're a dyin' breed," even the likes of Baldwin and company remain helplessly down for the count.

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'Back in the Day'

Not rated

Running time: 2 hours, 1 minute

Playing: AMC Burbank 8; also on VOD

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