Boxing movie with knockout performances

If you really want to see two hours of Miles Teller getting trash-talked, knocked around and finally, firmly punched out – well then, you’re probably still bitter over “Fantastic Four.”

But “Bleed for This” offers more than just revenge for film fans who feel they got sucker-punched.

The boxing movie also serves up the fascinating, maybe half-forgotten story of Vinny Pazienza, a tough kid from Providence who brawled his way to a couple of championships.

And then had to fight his way back into the ring after a car crash left him with a broken neck.

The good one comes from Teller who bulked up to play the proud puncher. He does his best to wring every emotion from this bare-knuckled comeback story, and it’s had some people buzzing about Oscars.

Except the great performance here – and the really worthy one – is courtesy of Aaron Eckhart, as tenacious trainer Kevin Rooney. Gruff and bullet-headed, Eckhart’s unrecognizable. He’s also terrific as a mug’s mug who knows how to win — if his fighters will only listen.

Both actors are clearly having fun in the kind of roles they’re rarely cast in.

It’s the other casting that seems slap-happy.

Like hiring the lively Katey Sagal to play Vinny’s mother – and giving her nothing to do but say novenas. Or asking the incredibly Celtic Ciaran Hinds to impersonate Vinny’s Italian poppa. The whole thing’s an acting split-decision.

The script pulls some punches, too. It ignores the uglier moments in the life of “Vinny Paz.” It leaves out a lot of his fights, too, and the controversy over some of them. (Although watching “Bleed for This” after this year’s “Hands of Stone,” which told the Roberto Duran match-up from Duran’s side, would make for an interesting double-feature.)

And the movie is very happy to stick to the oldest, laziest boxing-movie combination of all – success, failure, comeback. Sure, Vinnie’s story is all true. The problem is, the movie never makes it feel real.

There’s some nice footwork here from Teller, and Eckhart’s got plenty of heart. But in the end, “Bleed for This” is strictly rope-a-dope – and never goes the distance.