But this star-studded effort clearly has much higher aspirations. Brave director Scott Cooper seems to intent comparing his latest to The Deer Hunter.
Like that Oscar-laden classic, this is set in a decaying Pittsburgh steel town and has a returning soldier finding it hard to adapt to civilian life. If that isn't enough, at one point Christian Bale actually goes out of the furnace reviews deer hunting and bottles it when he's about it to pull the trigger.
Sadly, it's the film doesn't do too well out of the comparison. It's stylish and well acted but it is far too predictable to bother any awards panel.
After a stint in jail, Russell Baze (Bale) comes home to find his weird girlfriend (Zoe Saldana) has shacked up with the tubby local cop (Forest Whitaker). Meanwhile, his Iraq War vet brother (Casey Affleck) has gone all Christopher Walken and taken up bare-knuckle boxing.
As self-destructive sports go it's not quite as dangerous as Russian roulette. But with Woody Harrelson's violent mountain man on promoting duties it comes pretty close.
After a lot of moody shots of rusting factories, a revenge plot slowly kicks into gear pitting Bale against Harrelson. Both actors put in brilliant, film-saving performances. It's always watchable but the mix of pulpy drama and gritty realism never quite fit together.Rating: 3/5. Out on Wednesday, January 29.