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  1. JP is offline
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    It's all about the clinch. The clinch, I said.

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    Posted On:
    4/26/2009 4:29pm

    supporting member
     Style: SAMBO, mma, jiujitsu

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!

    Movie Review of "Fighting"

    First of all, big props to the director for filming this thing in New York City and not in Montreal or Toronto. As a native it does the heart good to see NYC shown in all her glory. There is particular attention paid to the subway stops as a way of contextualizing each different location. Which may not make as much sense to some people as say, street signs, but New York more so than any other American city has veins that run with subway cars instead of blood.

    Now, let’s dispense with the inevitable. “Fighting” is not a great movie by any stretch of the imagination. Rottentomatoes.com is currently ranking it at 36% positive out of all critical reviews. Now personally I say **** the critics.

    You see what I did there?

    Anyway, the director’s first film was the excellent “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints,” which was also filmed in New York, that time in the Long Island City section of Queens. That film, about a man returned to his old neighborhood for the first time in years after a shattered relationship with his family, had a tenderness and an honesty that you could feel the director trying to apply to “Fighting.” You don’t usually see that kind of effort made for an action movie, and strangely, it doesn’t fail all the time. There are long stretches of dialogue, between the main character Sean McArthur and both his backer, played by Terrence Howard, his love interest a newcomer named Zulay and his rival in the film Evan Hailey. Those stretches can become a little strained. But occasionally they shine, particularly in his courting of Zulay. I haven’t seen anything that sweet or genuine since high school. But Zulay’s grandmother is a damn scene stealer, crotchety old abuelita keeps coming out to yell at Sean or take her granddaughter to task for one thing or another. Whenever she’s on the frame everybody else might as well be furniture.

    It almost seems like the director was trying to tell a different kind of story than the normal gritty action film. The plot in those cases seems to be an excuse to have violence. It’s a lot like the way they used to install plots in pornography or the way Katz’s Delicatessen puts massive amounts of corned beef between slivers of rye bread.

    In “Fighting,” the violence seems the excuse for the plot.

    There’s a lot of what we all like to see in this film. Fight scenes that are choreographed well enough to be entertaining while still retaining some degree of realism. Sean McArthur is not a slick, Bruce Lee style fighter. In fact, few of the fighters he faces except Cung Lee in a silent appearance, are. Sean brawls, given his wrestling background he often uses flurries of punches to get in close enough to start slamming people into things. One excellent fight has him finishing his opponent accidentally-on-purpose by running with the guy’s charge and slamming him face first into a drinking fountain.

    Yeah there’s some stuff in the choreography I found annoying, but for the most part it was fine, better than I’ve come to expect and you could feel the impacts of the blows.

    Terrance Howard gives a weird performance as Sean’s backer. I’ve read a couple of reviews that said he was channeling Christopher Walken but I didn’t see that at all. But he does sink into his role a bit more than usual and certainly more than his rising star power would normally allow him to.

    Channing Tatum who plays Sean is in turns innocent and volatile. He plays the young man to the bone. You believe in Sean, even if you’re puzzled by his actions or seemingly constant bemusement. He doesn’t belong in New York City, even for all his fast fists and temper; this city threatens to swallow him without bothering to chew nearly the entire film.

    There’s a rivalry between him and a guy he grew up with, there’s a love interest. Sean’s got demons, blah blah blah. Those are plot additives that I’d bet money the director threw in to appease studio people. They’re so cliché it’s stupid and given the way other parts of this movie and his last were done.

    You might wait for DVD. But if you want to go to the movies, this one offers some choice bits if you can ignore some of the sticky points. See it for New York City, see it to watch a guy struggling to make his way, see it for the hilarious fight in the Bronx behind a bodega. I thought it was worth my 10 bucks, and taking the time to write this review.

    Take that for what it’s worth.
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  2. Diesel_tke is offline
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    Posted On:
    4/26/2009 4:46pm

    Join us... or die
     Style: stick,Taiji, mountainbike

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Thanks for the review! Waiting for DVD. But I will definitely watch it.
  3. JohnnyCache is offline
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    All Out of Bubblegum

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    Posted On:
    4/26/2009 5:33pm

    supporting memberforum leader
     Style: FMA

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    not like there's anything else to watch this weekend.
    There's no choice but to confront you, to engage you, to erase you. I've gone to great lengths to expand my threshold of pain. I will use my mistakes against you. There's no other choice.
  4. Phrost is offline
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    Posted On:
    4/26/2009 6:01pm

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     Guy Who Pays the Bills and Gets the Death Threats Style: MMA (Retired)

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Great review. I haven't seen it myself, but based on what you wrote it seemed like there was a subtle attempt to remake, or at least pay homage to Rocky in this. Would you say that was correct?

    The missus is a sucker for Rocky movies so we might see this if so.
  5. JP is offline
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    It's all about the clinch. The clinch, I said.

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    Posted On:
    4/26/2009 8:55pm

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     Style: SAMBO, mma, jiujitsu

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by Phrost View Post
    Great review. I haven't seen it myself, but based on what you wrote it seemed like there was a subtle attempt to remake, or at least pay homage to Rocky in this. Would you say that was correct?

    The missus is a sucker for Rocky movies so we might see this if so.

    Channing Tatum definitely shines out in this. It's no Rocky, but it's also not "Never Back Down," either. But yeah, in the way that the main character is violent but also very human and sympathetic I can certainly see parallels.

    One of the things I hate about the media when they try to depict these kinds of fights is when they always make it look like it's this thing for rich insiders like Wall Street fat cats. At least in this film they go to the high-rises and the hood.
    Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
    and remember what peace there may be in silence.
    As far as possible, without surrender,
    be on good terms with all persons.
    Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
    and listen to others,
    even to the dull and ignorant;
    they too have their story.

    -excerpt of the poem called "Desiderata," by Max Ehrman, 1927.
  6. JP is offline
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    It's all about the clinch. The clinch, I said.

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    Posted On:
    4/26/2009 8:56pm

    supporting member
     Style: SAMBO, mma, jiujitsu

    --
    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyCache View Post
    not like there's anything else to watch this weekend.
    That was more or my less my way of looking at it.

    It's either that or "Mutant Chronicles."

    And as much as I love steampunk and dystopic futures I'm not paying $12 to see a film remake of a failed pen and paper rpg.
    Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
    and remember what peace there may be in silence.
    As far as possible, without surrender,
    be on good terms with all persons.
    Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
    and listen to others,
    even to the dull and ignorant;
    they too have their story.

    -excerpt of the poem called "Desiderata," by Max Ehrman, 1927.
  7. Kentucky Fried Chokin is offline
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    Portrait of a BJJer as a Young Man

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    Posted On:
    4/26/2009 9:37pm

    Join us... or die
     Style: BJJ

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Thanks. If I'm on an airplance and it's between this and Pride and Prejustice, I'll probably pick this.
  8. PETER P. is offline

    Featherweight

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    Posted On:
    4/27/2009 2:35pm

    Bullshido Newbie
     Style: kick boxing

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    Trust me, don't go for the Mutant Chronicles...
  9. PETER P. is offline

    Featherweight

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    Posted On:
    4/27/2009 2:37pm

    Bullshido Newbie
     Style: kick boxing

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    By the way, If someone's looking for a good Rocky spin, I would go for a movie called "Crying fist"
  10. han090 is offline

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    Posted On:
    4/28/2009 8:45am


     Style: Judo

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    Hell yeah! Hell no!
    I have an unlimited card for my cinema, so I can't see why I wouldn't go see this.
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