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Dito Montiel’s “Fighting”

You’d probably expect a movie called AWAAZSAW to follow the same vein as telefonnummer favorites such as Bloodsport or Fight Club or Rocky 1-4 (Not 5, though. That one was LAME.) We did. But in the case of Dito Montiel’s Fighting, his second attempt at directing, you would be sadly disappointed.

Reviews I have read boast how gritty and hardcore this movie is, both due to how realistically Montiel portrays the seedier parts of the big city, as well as the fight scenes they claim are frequent and engaging, keeping you on the edge of your seat.

Wow. I’m guessing I must have fallen asleep during the movie as I have no recollection of it being either gritty nor hardcore. I actually remember at one point being so bored that I contemplated leaving before the movie actually ended. But I like Channing Tatum, the lead actor, and I want him to succeed in Hollywood as I think he is talented and needless to say, hot. So I stayed.

I am torn as to whether or not I made the right choice.

Fighting begins with Shawn MacArthur (Channing Tatum) trying to pedal goods in New York City for money to survive. A chain of events that involves hustler Harvey Boarden (Terrance Howard) sending in one of his flunkies to rob Shawn of his goods results in Shawn getting into a minor brawl. The brawl was rather uneventful, drew no blood, and lasted all of about 30 seconds. I don’t even recall a true blue punch being thrown but apparently it was enough for Harvey to see Shawn as his future money making street fighter.

Alone, broke, and homeless, Shawn sways to Harvey’s promise of easy money and soon finds himself in a no holds barred street fight where anything goes. That first fight, Shawn gets his ass handed to him but he turns out the victor anyway (convenience well placed to boost the storyline.) I found myself wondering how he would be able to survive future fights, especially since this first fight was only about 10 seconds longer than the intro. Plus it was filmed in a manner that implied that Shawn had no clue of what he was getting into. But true to movie form, all betting investors were impressed with Shawn’s fighting “skills.”

Luckily, we learn that Shawn is a former star wrestler and really does know how to fight. Apparently however events made it so he was “holding back” in that first fight and soon he is letting his anger go and holding his own.

There were maybe four fight scenes in the whole movie. The only one that lasted more than a minute or two was the last one. The only one with any real blood was the last one. The only one with any real emotion was the last one. And what makes the last fight lacking is that the story line never really developed the animosity between the two fighters. They told you about it - but showing it was lacking to say the least.

I don’t mean to imply that this movie sucked. It didn’t. Not completely anyway. The story line had great potential but was underdeveloped so I never felt myself bonding to any of the characters. The fight scenes were too few and seriously lacking in blood and raw emotion. Not to mention the whole street fighting aspect was underplayed, with the focus instead falling on Harvey’s desire to be a part of the “glamour” he felt street fighting offered. I mean come on - after every fight, Shawn was fine. No broken bones, no stitches needed, barely bruised, and he was always ready for a party. Definitely not hardcore in my book.

Watching this video, I realize it shows all the best parts of the movie. Actually, it shows all the movie, with the fluff parts omitted. It’s sad actually, because I was hoping for so much more. Especially for the ending. Talk about predictable and cookie cutter.

I should have gone to see The Fast and the Furious instead….. maybe today…….

Anyway, based on viewer reviews, it’s safe to say many will disagree with my assessment of Fighting. Perhaps you are one of those that felt this movie was every bit as good Rocky, and if so great! Tell me why. Tell me what I missed. Cuz I just don’t get it.

My assessment? Watch the trailer. You will enjoy it more than the 2 hours you would sit in the theater.