The world of underground fighting has been brought to adequate life in the aptly titled Fighting. Thoroughly predictable yet oddly entertaining, this fight flick should please fans of UFC-style bouts. It appears as though the filmmakers set out to make Rocky for a hipper (read: ADD-afflicted) generation, but it’s really not fair to compare that seminal Oscar-winning film with this one. Fighting definitely ain’t winning awards any time soon, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Find out why after the jump.
That blandly hot piece of meat known as Channing Tatum (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Whatever) stars as Sean MacArthur, an inept New York street hustler recently arrived from Alabama. When a fight breaks out on the street Sean manages to beat down three dudes and catches the eye of promoter Harvey Boarden who, unfortunately, is played by Terence Howard (Iron Man). Harvey soon introduces Sean to the lucrative and very illegal world of bare-knuckle brawls. When Sean’s old friend-cum-nemesis Evan Hailey (Brian White) shows up, it’s pretty damn obvious the climactic fight of the movie will be between these two.
Telegraphed plot turns aside, Fighting is a well-paced and very energetic movie. Even a cutesy romantic subplot involving Sean and a waitress (played by beautiful newcomer Zulay Valez) didn’t slow things down. However I did have two problems with the movie. The first is that I felt it didn’t have enough fights (it is called Fighting, after all). The fights in this movie were raw, kinetic and extremely brutal. I wanted more.
The second problem is a major one for me: The casting of Terence Howard. He has to be one of the worst, most irritating actors working today and he was really bad in this one. I actually applauded Marvel’s decision to fire Howard and replace him with the vastly more talented Don Cheadle for the role of James Rhodes in Iron Man 2. I dare say Howard is the male equivalent of Melanie Griffith, obnoxious voice and all.
The only extras on this no-frills disc are dull deleted scenes and two versions of the movie. There’s the unrated edition and the PG-13 theatrical edition. I opted to review the unrated version which is a whole three minutes longer than the other one. They really mustn’t spoil us like this.
Fighting is one of those middle-brow movies that won’t set any intellectual minds ablaze but it’s also not dumb and won’t bore you. It’s fun and doesn’t demand much from the viewer and that’s really all I want from my entertainment.