At first it’s easy to think Counterpunch is going to be your typical boxing movie – the story of the underdog that rises, falls again and then finally finds glory at the end as he defeats the arrogant bad guy.
I did and I was pleased to be completely wrong. Counterpunch is so much than just a boxing movie and I praise the young talented actor Alvaro Orlando for deciding to write the script and letting us into his true life story.
Alvaro Orlando delivers a beautiful performance. His onscreen charisma is so genuine with a maturity well beyond his age. It is very easy to watch Alvaro as he reminds me so much of a young John Leguizamo.
Counterpunch takes us to Miami to tell the story of Emilio Manrique (Alvaro Orlando) a young boxer from the wrong side of the tracks with dreams of winning the Golden Gloves. Emilio is faced with insurmountable obstacles; his alcoholic mother, degenerate friends but most of all his bi-polar disorder.
Alvaro takes a chance that pays off by opening himself up to the public (us) and taking on an opponent bigger than any he could ever face in the ring – himself. Using parts of his real life experiences in the movie he performs like a seasoned veteran on the big screen.
Alvaro makes no excuses in life and embraces being on the journey of not knowing what comes next. He is a true student of the industry both behind the camera as well as in front of it. Alvaro has a strict acting regimen that mimics that of his dedicated boxing workout. Like Alvaro says “You put in five to eight hours a week before a fight; you’re going to get your ass knocked out! The same thing will happen when it comes to acting.” That demeanor is what Mr. Orlando has injected into the Counterpunch script. As in life we gain a support system through people we trust and who ask nothing in return but simply to see us be better.
In the movie with his support system that consists of his crisis counselor (Danny Trejo) and a surrogate father his Uncle Frank (Oscar Torre) he earns the confidence and love of a beautiful, young boxing promoter (Camila Banus) bent on getting Emilio his shot at the big time.
Counterpunch is beautiful story that will appeal not only to the Rocky movie fans but also the Cinderella Man movie fans. Congratulations Mr. Alvaro Orlando on a great performance.
Alvaro Orlando is a talent that will become a big screen regular.
Alvaro Orlando & Director Kenneth Castillo
Director: Kenneth Castillo
Writers: Kenneth Castillo, Alvaro Orlando (story)
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