Bad Things Come in Sevens: Mark Mahon’s Strength and Honour


Proving that old adage that bad things come in sevens, Mark Mahon’s schlocky Strength and Honour opens as Irish boxing phenom Sean Kelleher (Michael Madsen) accidentally pounds his friend to death in the ring. (That’s one.) Flash forward to a drab hospital room where Sean’s wife, weak and pallid, makes her dying wish: Never box again. Then she dies. (That’s two.) Flash forward to the dinner table, where Sean’s young son pukes all over his plate. (That’s three.) Not since Kate Winslet’s Cough Heard Round the World in Finding Neverland has terminal illness been so subtly foreshadowed. The prognosis? Twelve to 18 months. But, wait! There’s an experimental procedure! It’s only available in L.A., and won’t likely be approved by the FDA for, er, 12 to 18 months, but if Sean can pay $250K out of pocket, he’s golden. (Four, five, and six: Insurance refuses to cover the dead wife’s hospital bills, the bank reposes Sean’s house to the tune of some awful song, “I Want to Run with the Wild Horses,” and dad and son move into a motor home enclave, where bare knuckle boxing is the new riding bikes.) Point is: Sean has to box again. Zip-up hoodie worn just so, Sean goes back to the old gym and trains for the big fight: a gloves-free free-for-all with a mega payout. More things happen, until inevitably Sean makes it to the final, duking it out with reigning champ Smasher (Vinnie Jones, scary) against the backdrop of an Irish Spring commercial. (Forgot to mention: Smasher beats Sean’s best friend paralyzed in the semi-finals. That’s seven.)

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