BEVERLY HILLS —“The Nail” is a very emotionally moving film about Joey Nardone, a boxer who became famous for his ability to punch nails into the walls with his fists. Not being a sports or boxing fan, I was not sure that I’d enjoy this film, however, there is a story throughout the film that is uplifting and has a great moral about the human spirit and its desire and need to overcome obstacles. The film stars Philadelphia native Tony Luke, Jr., William Forsythe, Leo Rossi and Tony Danza. Luke stars as Joey Nardone, an out-of-shape boxer, who after eight years in prison for an unfortunate accident gets a shot at redemption by fighting for one young boy’s future, 14-year-old Jesus. Joey and Jesus begin a relationship that gives them both a new and inspired life with a purpose: to only fight for the right.
Jesus like most teenage boys has to deal with schoolyard bullies, and Joey soon begins to teach the young boy how to fight and box. However, it soon becomes apparent that the kid is in more danger from a brutal and physically abusive father. The young actor who plays Jesus is very believable in the role, but Luke, Jr. is beyond incredible and instead of just playing it as a heavy, he shows layers in the character of Joey that only seasoned actors would be able to convey on the screen.
“The Nail” is sharp and edgy, very painful at times but in all the good ways a film should evoke emotions from the viewer. What some people may not like about the film, is that it is pretty predictable, but Tony Luke’s performance is far from it. Just as you believe he’s going in one direction, he changes his mind as an actor and takes you to another whole new place. The award winning film has made a lot of fans at film festivals across the U.S. but it has made a hardened critic fall in love with it, as only Luke could do. Tony Danza is perfect in a possibly stereotypical role, but he still has the charm that made him one of television’s most beloved actors.
The actor Tony Luke who stars in “Nail” was also seen on The Travel Channel on Wednesday night giving culinary advice to super bowl party planners. When you think of Philadelphia, you think of tough guys with big hearts ”“ and cheesesteaks. That’s just fine with Tony Luke, Jr., restaurateur, actor and impresario, who is as much a part of his city’s landscape as Constitution Hall and the Phillie Phanatic. With his legendary eateries serving up to 20,000 cheesesteaks, roast pork, chicken cutlets, and hoagies a week, the bear-sized Luke has taken his success to the big screen with “The Nail.” The film is now airing on Showtime and The Movie Channel, after earning the audience award for Best Film at his hometown film festival, Cinefast 09. Impressive versatility for a former martial artist and would-be boxer, born and bred on the streets of South Philly.
With his food business going nationwide, Tony Luke isn’t sitting on his laurels. He’s set to appear in two upcoming feature films, “Our Lady of Victory” with Carla Gugino and Ellyn Burstyn, produced by Pat Croce; and “Mafioso II,” which will shoot in Philadelphia and co-star Angie Everheart and David Proval. He’s also set to serve as the “Philly Chef” for the Food Network’s Guy Fieri’s national live stage show tour.
Get “The Nail” on Netflix or watch it on Showtime. A film well worth your time.
Photograph Courtesy: Tony Luke, Jr.