A renowned street fighter’s brother is murdered, so he flees to a small town where his crippled father lives. While there he discovers an underground circuit of Mixed Martial Arts competitions and raw, street fighting prize matches. With the help of a former MMA champ (played by real-life UFC contender Michael Bisping), our hero fights his way up to the top of the underground action in order to pay off the gangster who slayed his brother, earn the respect he deserves, and what the heck…win a new love interest too.
The acting in this film is a touch better than one might expect from the new trend of MMA action films (fast replacing both boxing and pro wrestling as fighting trend king). Danny Trejo does a fine job as the father, though he’s such a natural character that he never really needs to “act” at all. Bisping should get some brownie points for having 0 acting experience but pulling off a decent run as a significant supporting character in this film.
The directing is acceptable during the action sequences (as it directed by longtime stunt man Michael Gunther) but many of the scenes have this dizzying mashup of weird zooms and distortions that seem to be trying to stylize the intense moments but are actually only mildly distracting from how cliché the screenplay is.
Yes, the story is a tired one. I could drone on and on with an elaborate description but I’ll save your reading eyes and my patience by using relevant buzz terms: Training Montage, Question of Faith, Goofy Buddy, Underdog, Star-crossed lovers, Revenge Plot, Happy Ending. There you go. You’ve now read my unofficial transcript of this film, summed up neatly. Oh, I almost forgot…lots of brutality! There is no fight in this film where blood does not stream from fighter’s mouths, and our hero tends to end his fights by ramming the opponents head into something sturdy like a bumper or wood planks.
Widescreen 2.35:1. The majority of the picture is up to Blu Ray snuff, as the daytime shots demonstrate a nice clarity but there are portions where shadows create an unwelcome graininess. Inconsistent.
Dolby Digital 5.1 in English and Spanish.
The crunch of fists and elbows breaking bones is as clear as one could hope for (both in the menu and the film). Aside from that, the music and dialogue are perfectly fine. No complaints or notable issues.
English Subtitles available.
Welcome To The Underground: Six Days on Set with Michael Bisping. This is a very short collection of footage detailing each day of Bisping’s work on the set. Bisping is a likeable, jolly, and kind brute. He is respectful of fighter and actor alike and perfectly humble in his duties.
Choreographing the Beatdowns. A look at the 3 person team assembled that had the daunting task of choreographing each fight the very same day as the filming. A tight schedule and decent results.
Beatdown Contest Winner: A confusing and brief look at someone who…won a contest? No explanation is given. Waste of time unless your know what the heck is going on already.
Tapout Promos: Commercials for the clothing line. Lame.
Trailer Gallery: A gaggle of MMA themed movie trailers including this one. This honestly upset me. I am not looking forward to anything of this “gallery” had to offer.
This film will keep the attention of some fight fans, but not many else.
I mentioned before the rising trend of MMA movies. If they are not Rocky clones or derivative of any sport movie where someone struggling gets “one last shot,” then they seem to be doing their darnedest to legitimize Street brawling. “Violence is the proper solution,” says films like these..I simply cannot advocate that without better context placed onto it.