Fighting (2009)

Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

Pants.

This “Rocky for the myspace generation” is the biggest pile of pap I’ve seen in ages. I should have been alerted to the danger of watching this when I realised I was the only person in the entire cinema on a Saturday.

The story follows a two-bit hustler (Terence Howard going through the motions) who discovers a street kid, Shawn (Channing Tatum), who can fight, and basically takes him to the top of the street-fighting pile. There are four fights, the first of which is won by using a nearby water fountain, the second fight is ended by Shawn’s friend kicking his opponent and another friend being shot in the ear. Finally, the third fight arrives, and Shawn get seriously beat up before he eventually wins. The final fight is with an actual professional fighter, a mixed-martial artist and former medal-winning wrestler, and former team-mate of Shawny.

So, not only are we expected to believe that this dumb kid can fight his way to the top of New York’s bare-knuckle fighting championship in only three fights, but we’re also expected to believe that a professional fighter with his entire career at stake will take on a high-school rival in a fight on a rooftop. Also, anyone who’s seen The Ultimate Fighter will know that these guys are athletes and they train hard, yet Shawn does two minute of shadow boxing and a couple of push-ups on the subway and he’s ready to take on the best!

They also throw in a love-interest in the gorgeous form of Zulay Henao to tempt in more viewers. The only thing of any substance in the film, although the love-interest thread shows up the serious acting deficiencies of our lead (Tatum).

The best bit of the film, like trying to find a diamond in an Alaska-sized heap of shite, is the relationship that  develops between the young street kids, and not nearly enough time is given to this.

It’s not only the ridiculous story-line that doesn’t work. The fight-scenes are disjointed and ineffective, neither brutal enough nor exciting. In these days of the Ultimate Fighting Championships we need a gloss and slickness to our violence that is just lacking here. How can a film called Fighting, about fighting, be so bad at depicting fighting?

At one point in the film Shawn is all bruised in the morning and then miraculously healed in the evening. This just another reason to hate this film.

Rubbish of the lowest order, avoidlike the plague. Not even worth renting the dvd.

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