Fighting (M)

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Review byMatthew Turner13/05/2009

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 107 mins

Watchable, nicely shot and decently acted drama that delivers exactly what you'd expect from a film called Fighting.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Dito Montiel (A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints), Fighting stars Channing Tatum as Shawn, an ex-wrestler from Birmingham, Alabama, who's trying to make a living as a street hustler in New York, even though he's too dumb to realise Harry Potter and the Hippopotamus isn't a real book. When he gets into a scrap over his dodgy wares, his fighting skills are spotted by ticket scalper Harvey (Terrence Howard).

Reeling him in with the promise of big bucks, Harvey takes Shawn under his wing and introduces him to the bare-knuckle fighting circuit, where Shawn promptly becomes a star brawler, earning him a shot at rival and former wrestling teammate Evan (Brian White). Meanwhile, Shawn begins a relationship with pretty single mother Zulay (Zulay Henao).

The Good
Tatum makes a likeable lead, even if he isn't called upon to do much more than look good with his shirt off and make the fight scenes seem convincing. Similarly, Howard is good as Harvey, managing to hint at depths that aren't in the script, while Henao is appealing as Shawn's love interest and Altagracia Guzman steals every scene she's in as Zulay's feisty grandmother.

The plot may be straight from The Big Book Of Cliches, but Montiel at least shoots New York in interesting ways, even if it seems he’s employed all his mates as extras (you can tell, because they look at the camera). In addition, the fight scenes are well staged and decently edited, with Montiel making good use of the different venues.

The Bad
Perhaps it's unfair to demand things like depth and character development from a film called Fighting, but the script doesn't even make good on its own cliches – for example, some backstory about Shawn's (unseen) father only serves to give him some punchy daddy issues and isn't explored further. Also, there are only four fights in it, not counting the scrap at the beginning.

Worth seeing?
This is watchable enough, but there isn't really much more to Fighting than, well, the fighting.

Film Trailer

Fighting (M)
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Content updated: 22/08/2019 23:54

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