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play it close the vest

Play It to the Bone

Play It to the Bone is a 1999 film, starring Antonio Banderas and Woody Harrelson, written and directed by Ron Shelton.

It follows the adventures of two boxers and best friends who travel to Las Vegas in order to fight each other for the sake of a chance to compete for the middleweight title. The film also starred Lolita Davidovich, Tom Sizemore, Lucy Liu and Robert Wagner.

The film garnered a generally poor reception, with Rotten Tomatoes giving it an average rating of 3.9 out of 10. Professional critical reception was similar, with Empire Magazine giving it just 2 stars out of 5.

Cameos include: Tony Curtis, Wesley Snipes, Mike Tyson, Kevin Costner, Rod Stewart, Jennifer Tilly and Natasha Gregson Wagner.

Plot

Aging prizefighters and longtime pals Cesar Dominguez (Banderas) and Vince Boudreau (Harrelson) always regretted not getting one last shot. Out of the blue, such an opportunity comes their way -- except it's to fight each other.

Boxing promoter Joe Domino (Sizemore) has a problem on his hands. The fighters scheduled to be on his undercard in Vegas, a preliminary to a main event featuring heavyweight Mike Tyson, suddenly become unavailable at the last minute. He needs replacements fast, so a call is made to a gym in Los Angeles to see if Dominguez and Boudreau would be willing to step into the ring against one another.

The boxers negotiate one condition -- that the winner will be given a chance to fight for the middleweight championship. Domino agrees, although the untrustworthy promoter is not necessarily a man of his word.

Cesar and Vince have only a day to get to the fight. They decide to drive rather than fly, so they call upon their friend Grace (Davidovitch) to drive them in her vintage automobile. Grace is not only their mutual acquaintance, but the former love interest of both.

Grace's own plan is to pitch her various money-making ideas to Vegas bigshots like hotel and casino boss Hank Goody (Wagner) and raise venture capital. In the meantime, they pick up a hitchhiker (Liu) whose insults finally result in Grace's flattening her with a solid right cross worthy of one of her friends.

The fight between the two friends is sparsely attended, ringside fans and celebrities remaining uninterested until the night's main event. Cesar and Vince mix it up so savagely, however, beating each other to a bloody pulp, that fans in the arena begin paying more and more attention, as do commentators on TV.

When the action-packed and dramatic bout comes to an end, Cesar and Vince are paid off, but promptly blow most of their money. Grace, too, comes away empty-handed, except for her everlasting relationship between a couple of hard-headed but soft-hearted guys.

References

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