Fighting

"Good"

Fighting Review


There is something abnormally aggressive and conversational being deployed in the street-fight drama Fighting. It's the second film directed and co-written by New York native Dito Montiel and, like his nostalgic debut A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, it has a great love for NYC location shooting.

This film tells a very familiar tale of a talented fighter discovered by an opportunistic but ultimately good-hearted manager/trainer and shoved into a world of money, greed, and empty glory that he may not be prepared for. But Never Back Down, this is not. The moment Shawn (Channing Tatum) enters the screen, it's obvious he is not wise nor even very intelligent for that matter. He's lean and muscular but he doesn't have it over on anyone, and this is partially how he comes under the wing of Harvey Boarden (Terrence Howard), a street hustler who has connections to the world of private boxing. There's a hint of imperialism in the way the very white Shawn squares-off against four fighters, beginning with a brawny Eastern European type and ending with Evan (Brian J. White), a black, brutal fighter who Shawn's father taught and loved more than his son.

The script by Montiel and Robert Munic has a strange, intimate rhythm to its dialogue. Every conversation goes on just a bit longer than you think it will. At moments, the conversations are so clipped and unexpected that one might think Andrew Bujalski did a rewrite. In its structure, however, it's all business. The aimless, endless insinuations of Shawn's father and "an incident" are only overwhelmed in apathy by the sweet but feckless romance that blooms between Shawn and Zulay (Zulay Henao), a single mother and waitress who shares an apartment with her grandmother.

Fighting oddly feels like a film that is, itself, fighting to break free of its own contrivances and conventions. It never lags and it supplies plenty of action, but its trajectory and twists are clear from the outset. For all the everyday moments and sights of NYC that it picks up with warmth and familiarity, it drowns out its naturalness with a constant, egregious thumping of here-we-go rap anthems and throwback R&B. Any momentum it builds it diffuses with an overplayed note (Zulay's grandmother) or an awkward moment of needless melodrama. It can't find its allegiance, and its indecision bleeds into the viewer.

For whatever emphasis is given to Shawn's character and his story, Montiel's film is really about Harvey, and it's hard to take your eyes off of Howard's performance. Harvey's slow crawl to the knowledge that he's not cut out for New York City nor the fighting business is a powerful realization that is shortchanged here, but Howard's syrupy voice and suave presence makes Harvey a much more fascinating creation than the pride-and-glory two-step of Shawn's arc. Playing Fagin to a trio of hoods, Harvey is the sort of glorious, all-or-nothing loser that would be prime game for someone like Abel Ferrara or John Cassavetes. In Fighting, however, he is outmatched by the rigid mechanics of plot.

What did you think the movie was going to be about?



Fighting

Facts and Figures

Run time: 105 mins

In Theaters: Friday 24th April 2009

Box Office USA: $23.0M

Distributed by: Rogue Pictures

Production compaines: Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures, Rogue Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 39%
Fresh: 50 Rotten: 79

IMDB: 5.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Dito Montiel

Producer:

Starring: as Shawn MacArthur, as Harvey Boarden, as Zulay Valez, as Jack Dancing, Brian J. White as Evan Hailey, as Kimo's Girl, as Ajax, as Ray Ray, Peter Anthony Tambakis as Z, as Martinez, as Christopher Anthony, Laila Liliana Garro as Fine Russian Girl #1, Ksyn Cason as Fine Woman Shevonne

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.