Rated 3.0

Two decades before The Wrestler, Mickey Rourke laid out the template for his Oscar-nominated “comeback” in Michael Seresin’s scruffy 1988 boxing film Homeboy. Rourke wrote the film and starred as Johnny Walker (he also played characters named Harley Davidson and Johnny Handsome within the same three-year span), a hillbilly bleeder slugging his way through the New Jersey fight clubs. Homeboy was dismissed upon release, but it’s gained a newfound fascination due to its unmistakable similarities to Darren Aronofsky’s far superior The Wrestler (it’s all there: the self-destruction, the “one last fight” that could kill him, the good girl who offers a way out, even the ratty hooded sweater). Despite some remarkable scenes, Homeboy is weighed down by a soggy love story and a dead-end subplot featuring Christopher Walken as a natty small-time gangster.