Reel Society

Reviews for the latest movies in theaters and on DVD.



Review by Patrick Hodges

There have been a lot of movies over the years about the topic of street-fighting.  Most of them are poorly acted, of course, with cheesy bad guys, predictable endings, a hero you can get behind and some cool fight scenes.  They won’t win any awards or anything, but you can still enjoy them on a visceral, “guilty-pleasure” level.  Fighting, a movie that kind of slips in through the back door of this genre, is, however, not enjoyable on any level at all.

Shawn MacArthur (Channing Tatum) plays a young hustler, hawking bootleg merchandise on the streets of New York City.  When an unfortunate fracas breaks out, Shawn is forced to use his various fighting skills to defend himself, and then he gets noticed by Harvey Boarden (Terrence Howard), who convinces him that there’s more money to be made by fighting in a more organized format – a series of back-alley bouts where the winner gets paid a goodly sum and the loser gets nothing.

Let me cut to the chase – nothing about Fighting is remotely interesting or worthy of attention.  The acting, which I explained is never very good in films of this ilk, is even worse than that.  The script sounded like it was written by a teenager, and the dialogue was so atrocious it was actually painful to listen to.  The fact that there was very little profanity, given the setting, made the whole enterprise bland as hell.

The characters, regrettably, are just as bland.  They show very little personality or growth from one end of this film to another, and I have to confess that I fast-forwarded through much of the second half, just to get to the predictable “final fight scene”, where Shawn must go toe-to-toe with an old rival (another fight movie cliché).

About the only thing that could have redeemed Fighting were some good fight scenes, but sorry, it didn’t even have that.  Rather than being cool-looking, well-choreographed fights, they amounted to little more than brawls.  I suppose that makes them more true-to-life, but it also makes them far less enjoyable.  There’s also a “love story”, if anyone cares, as Shawn becomes smitten with a nightclub server (Zulay Velez), but even their scenes together are hackneyed and predictable.

Bad script, bad acting, bad cinematography, bad good guys, bad bad guys, bad fights.  Bad movie.  Quite possibly the worst film I’ve seen this year.

½  / 5 stars

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