My daughter, Alex, and I watched Ashby a few nights ago and, as I often do when I see Mickey Rourke’s disfigured face, I commented how, a long time ago, I had such a big crush on him that her father and I agreed that, if we had a son, we’d name him Mikhail, with Mickey for his nickname.
When Mickey Rourke did 9½ Weeks with Kim Basinger in 1986, the dreamboats that came later like Brad Pitt and Ryan Gosling wouldn’t have been able to hold a candle to him. In his prime, Mickey Rourke was handsome, sexy, charming and a damn fine actor (the latter, when given the right role). He was one of the few who looked good — and convincing — in a worn leather jacket and have the same effect when wearing a coat and tie.
It wasn’t the first time I told Alex all that but she still found it hard to believe that Mickey Rourke, whom she first saw in Iron Man 2, could have been remotely good-looking. The strange thing is, it wasn’t in Iron Man 2 that she first saw Mickey Rourke — she had seen him on screen years earlier in the neo-noir action thriller Sin City.
It’s not easy to describe the experience of seeing Mickey Rourke in Sin City. When I first saw the film, I thought that the character “Marv” was CGI-created. It wasn’t until the end credits rolled did I realize that that was Mickey Rourke.
The change in appearance has to do with boxing. Rourke was an amateur boxer before he became an actor. Then, he took a hiatus from acting and turned pro-boxer. Too many hits on the face and going to the wrong cosmetic surgeon ruined his looks.
‘Most of it was to mend the mess of my face because of the boxing, but I went to the wrong guy to put my face back together,’ he says. [The Daily Mail]
Why he left acting for pro-boxing is also revealed in the in-depth interview linked to above.
In the 2015 film Ashby, Rourke looks better than he has in over a decade. He plays Ashby Holt, the terminally-ill retired CIA assassin who becomes friends with his young neighbor, Ed Wallis (Nat Wolff).
The film is enjoyable enough but, for serious film buffs, it’s terribly hard to understand what message it tries to relay. Is it a coming-out film? Is it a drama about a boy who finds a father figure in his strange neighbor? Is it a teen romance? All three are elements of Ashby although none is played out to be convincing nor funny nor dramatic enough to leave ay lasting impression.