Fighting (DVD)

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Fighting (DVD)

A small-town boy hustling his way through the big city forms an uneasy alliance with a scam artist who inducts him into the violent world of bare-knuc...

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Review of "Fighting (DVD)"

published 15/07/2011 | paulie1975
Member since : 13/05/2008
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Hi all, I am really trying my best to get the hang of this, please let me know if I need to return your rate and I will do so ASAP, I promise :)
Good
Pro Nice natural flow to the film, non offensive
Cons weak plot, the odd acting discrepancy, the fights are fairly staid
very helpful
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"Blood is just red sweat"

Fighting (DVD)

Fighting (DVD)

Saturday Nights all right for fighting


You would think from the title that this film is all about fighting and if you watched the trailer, you would probably assume this is a sub-Fight Club film about fighting, it is, if that's what you want to take from the film, but beneath the fighting there is something more, a heart and a brain and some half decent dialogue which is hidden beneath a layer of banality. While it will attract some teenage girls for the visual reward of Channing Tatum with his shirt off and may attract others who’ve misinterpreted this PG film as something more bloodthirsty, either way, if you give the film a chance it will actually surprise you and be a middle of the range film with some hidden depth, rather than a vacuous series of fights set out to Rap music.

The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting


Fighting is based on a screenplay by Robert Munic and director Dito Montiel. It took over $23 million dollars on release and was something of an MTV favourite, starring heart throb Channing Tatum and having a soundtrack including artists such as Amerie and Robin Thicke.

Victory is always possible for the person who refuses to stop fighting(The Plot)


Shaun (Channing Tatum) is a tough Southern kid trying to make it in the big city, his dad was a wrestling coach and he has tried to make his own way selling bits and pieces (unsuccessfully) on the streets, one day he bumps into Harvey (Terrence Howard) who opportunely notices his fighting skills when they are duly required and offers the kid money to fight in an illegal prize fight. Success follows and Harvey builds up the purses as Shaun becomes more successful, but both are treading a dangerous line in a world that really isn't theres and risk losing everything, in the meantime, Shaun builds a tentative flirtatious friendship with Zulay (Zulay Henao), and begins to realise that these fights could give them both the future currently denied them.

The art of acting consists in keeping people from coughing (The Cast)


This is really a film about the three main characters, others mainly come and go (quite often through walls or windows). To begin with Chaning Tatum does a decent job as Shaun, he is a well raised southern kid, trying and failing to make his way in the big city, he is courteous and kind, but with a determination when fighting which belies this.

Being honest he doesn't have as much acting as action to contend with, and only really shows an emotive stance when dealing with Zulay in a tender and quite bashful romance which is quite appealing and definitely one of the more convincing I've seen in a longtime, it has an almost indie feel in the fact you will them to kiss for much of the film, rather than the usual macho image of a man fighting and rutting like a Stag in season.

To be fair to Tatum he does get a lot of stick for being somewhat wooden and one dimension, selected more often for his looks than his ability, but on this occasion he does seem to balance the courteous young man lost in the big city, with a fiery desire to fight to rid himself of personal demons and to build a life for himself and the girl he really wants to be with. One comment I would make is that his southern accent seems to change a few times during the film, it’s nowhere near to the levels of Russell Crowe’s UK traversing accent in Robin Hood, but he does seem to struggle at times.

Zulay Henao fills her character with grace and a quiet determination, you understand why Shaun wants to fight for her, to win them both a future and you do connect with them and their relationship and hope it works out. She isn’t overused but her performance is subtle and caring and her relationship with Shaun is genuine and sweet, a refuge for them both in a dark unforgiving environment.

For me the most interesting character in the film is Terence Howard as Harvey, he is well connected and a man to know, but beneath this façade of being an illegal fight fixer, he seems relaxed but utterly unsure of himself, in moments of threat he resigns himself to an inevitable and gruesome fate, as though it were written in the stars, his calm, quiet demeanour adds to the feeling that beneath this action flick there could have been something a whole lot more interesting going on.

Howard talks in a way which doesn’t seem like acting, he is very natural and you do believe him, I’ve given this some more thought since my initial Dooyoo review and my only complaint about his performance was that near the end when faced with mounting problems he remains unflappable and calm despite a clear indication that things could get somewhat tricky. Perhaps this was intentional and if so I just didn’t pick up on that but it felt a bit unrealistic and did spoil it a bit for me as it made me think that perhaps the guy only has one pace and his ‘acting’ was simply him being his natural self and he couldn’t raise his game for the tenser scenes.

Special mention should go to 78-year-old Altagracia Guzman, who plays Zulay's grandmother. She is very natural on screen and almost seems to be making it all up as she goes along, she is funny, natural and at times, almost feels like a support cast member who is just freestyling it, as she appears at certain moments and the actors seem almost shocked at her appearance, as if she has arrived to early, or wasn’t supposed to, she gives Shaun a hard time, as she worries about his intentions for her granddaughter, but plays this with enough humour and sensitivity to be a popular cast member with the viewing audience.

The rest of the cast is made up of hoodlums and fighters, the fighters look realistic enough, not like backstreet brawlers I’ve ever seen in documentaries here, more from the Fight Club school of well oiled pretty boy fighters who only seem to appear in films.

Blood is just red sweat (The Fights)


The action sequences are brutal and being honest, utterly unbelievable, they reminded me of the old Clint Eastwood films with the Orang Utang (Every which way but loose) where the fighters go through windows and walls but just keep on going, the action is testosterone filled and will attract many viewers, but it is limited and actually gets a bit repetitive after the first few fights. The fighters Shaun faces are ethnically diverse and almost too uniform in this respect, which is slightly unerring.

The fights are handled efficiently but it did seem to me that whomever was organising the fights would have cordoned off some kind of boundary rather than allowing the fighters to mindlessly pummel each other through walls, windows and countless expensive looking pieces of furniture.

There is blood and the fights are violent, but not in the same way as a lot of British films would make them, these fights have the blood but the artistic licence to make them appear violent without ever really kicking off, for the most part the fights and the fighters have less menace than a panda.

A chumps eye view of this film


This film is called Fighting, and this alone will have pricked the attention of many viewers, however the film is just as much about the relationships that build between the fights, between the three main characters and these scenes are a whole lot more interesting and could have been given more focus. The dynamic between the three characters is interesting and while it doesn't totally work for me simply because it isn't explored enough, there is a real sense that the film had a good idea but went for the money over the plaudits. As Shaun begins to understand more about the world he has entered he has to question both his new friend and his girl, but learns to appreciate that they all live in a world where you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to get by.

The dialogue is the key to this film, it feels real and natural and all three leads do excel when simply reacting to situations, their problems feel genuine and you do empathise with all three of them. It is what raises this above a below par film about illegal fighting, which this could so easily have been and into a film which explores the feelings and emotions of those involved and wonders why they would do it. It also has the ability to accept that in the real world there will be pauses, moments of inaction and these add to giving it a real pace and authority that some more polished films might lack.

The actors fall down slightly each in their own performances, Tatum with his accent and the limits to his character, Howard in his one paced approach to absolutely every situation and Henao in the fact she doesn’t have enough to do.

It is not a film that will change your life and at times is just brainless violence, but there is a buddy movie underneath this violent exterior and a sweet, almost childlike romance which is well played and subtle, unlike much of the rest of the film. It's instantly forgettable and has one of the worst titles I've seen in years, but if you can rent it or watch it on Sky, I'd definitely recommend it as a nice antidote to some of the more brainless action films I've recently watched.

Best Quote


In the words of the late, great, Marvin Gaye. Let's... Get... It... On!

==Film only Review==

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Comments on this review

  • dee7778 published 17/07/2011
    Another great review. Not my sort of film at all, but I always have a fondness for it because the trailer made my boys laugh so much ( too difficult to explain here)
  • Graygirl published 16/07/2011
    Not one for me, but a superb review.
  • Absinthe_Fairy published 16/07/2011
    Not my thing but an excellent review!
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Product Information : Fighting (DVD)

Manufacturer's product description

A small-town boy hustling his way through the big city forms an uneasy alliance with a scam artist who inducts him into the violent world of bare-knuckle brawling in A GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING YOUR SAINTS writer/director Dito Montiel's unforgiving urban action film. Arriving in New York City with little more than the shirt on his back, Shawn MacArthur (Channing Tatum) makes ends meet by selling counterfeit goods on the street. But times are tough and money is short, and just as things are starting to look grim, Shawn crosses paths with crafty con artist Harvey Boarden (Terrence Howard). Harvey instantly recognizes Shawn's natural talent for street fighting, and offers to help the uneasy newcomer make some quick cash on the bare-knuckle circuit. But making a living by brawling isn't easy because the system is hopelessly corrupt, and the only people who really come out on top are the rich businessmen who place wagers on the disposable fighters. Still, Harvey's instincts were right, and Shawn quickly makes a name for himself by taking down every opponent who crosses his path, including mixed martial arts champs, veteran pugilists, and ultimate fighters. As each bout becomes more intense, Shawn realizes that his only hope for escaping this dark world is to face his fiercest opponent to date.

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