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  Publicity Stills of
(Courtesy of GV)

Genre: Action/Drama
Director: Dito Montiel
Cast: Channing Tatum, Terrence Howard, Brian White, Luis Guzman, Zulay Henao
RunTime: 1 hr 45 mins
Released By: GV
Rating: NC-16 (Violence and Scene of Intimacy)
Official Website: http://www.fightingmovie.net/

Opening Day: 23 July 2009


Small-town boy Shawn MacArthur (Channing Tatum) has come to New York City with nothing. Barely earning a living selling counterfeit goods on the streets, his luck changes when scam artist Harvey Boarden (Terrence Howard) sees that he has a natural talent for streetfighting. When Harvey offers Shawn help at making the real cash, the two form an uneasy partnership.

As Shawn's manager, Harvey introduces him to the corrupt bare-knuckle circuit, where rich men bet on disposable pawns. Almost overnight, he becomes a star brawler, taking down professional boxers, mixed martial arts champs and ultimate fighters in a series of staggeringly intense bouts. But if Shawn ever hopes to escape the dark world in which he's found himself, he must now face the toughest fight of his life.

Movie Review:

Fighting is one of those movies that targeted at the teenagers demographic. These teens flick often have a few things in common and that’s good looking cast, testosterone-driven characters with their respective anguish and plotting wise, it’s the same old predictable overcoming the odds type of show. There are already quite a handful of such movies. For dancing, there are the “Step up” series, for romance, there’s the “Twilight” series and for fighting, there’s already one movie called “Never back down”. (If you need to know, for teens parody movies, it would the “Disaster Movie” and it’s kind)

Teenagers seemly lack the discerning abilities and kept clamoring for more of such similar movies and we get movies like “Fighting”. If you are a teen (or the target audience), you probably just need to know that it stars the teen idol Channing Tatum who gaining popularity and getting involved with quite a few big productions recently. His character is basically an out of luck sort who been picked by the Terence Howard’s character to take part in an underground fighting tournament to earn some money. As the movie unravels, we discover the “twist” in his life and a climatic fight!

If you are one of the target audience, that’s all you need to know about the show. But if you are one of those cynical viewers like yours truly, then read on as this review will try to dissect what went wrong for this formulaic movie.

The first thing that pops into the mind was that how come a movie like this could afford the caliber of Terence Howard while Iron Man couldn’t. Was it the script that made him take a pay cut so that he could be in this movie? But there isn’t much material for him to work on as a role of a mentor / street hustler who introduced the world of underground fighting to the protagonist. It just doesn’t make sense to see a talent like Terence Howard wasted in a film like this.

The plot of Fighting felt as directionless and clueless as the lead character Shawn McArthur that was portrayed by Channing Tatum. The set ups and how the story was weaved were as tactless as his style of fighting. If there any style of fighting that Shawn was making, it would be the style of a charging bull in a china shop. It’s your basic street bawls which could be rather look rather unglamorous on screen and to a degree, it wasn’t his skills that helped progress Shawn to the final but it was the sheer “movie magic luck”.

The film also basically made no effort in showing the obligatory training or coaching that shown in most fighting movie and while I’m not a fan of the formulaic flicks, this formulaic flick was in desperate needs of one. Without it, it doesn’t show what the character is lacking in “Fighting” (how ironic) and what this conflict would enable him to change in certain ways. It also made Terence Howard’s mentor character in this movie rather unnecessary as he did nothing much except to set up the bouts and collect prize money.

Last but not least, the thing that irked me the most was how the protagonist tried to woo the lead female character in this show. His methods were tactless, testosterone over driven and worst of all, stupid. But then again, it’s understandable why such romance is possible as this movie is targeted at teenagers and their idea of romance would probably involve such clueless headstrong methods ( which therefore relatable and that’s making a great sell of such fantasy to them). I cringe at the fact that Zulay (the female love interest in this movie) (played by Zulay Henao, it makes one wonder if the storywriter was too lazy to come up with a name for her to play)would even give Shawn a chance to romance her.

It also does not depict why Shawn was even attracted to her in the first place. The only encounter was that she was buying a book from him before he got robbed and that is it. It could be any girls who walked up to him and we wouldn’t even know what made her so different. But probably for a teenager’s mindset, as long as the girl is pretty (which Zulay clearly is), that’s all that matters.

Movie Rating:

(A numbing teen flick about fighting)

Review by Richard Lim Jr


. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)

. Step Up 2: The Streets (2008)

. Never Back Down (2008)

. The Brave One (2007)

. Step Up (2006)

. Coach Carter (2005)

. Havoc (2005)

. Stop-Loss DVD (2008)




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