I’m assuming when Fighting was written, there was a lot of “fighting” for the direction of the movie. Is it going to be a carefully crafted coming-of-age story or another rip-off (see Obsessed preview) to appease the mainstream audiences? I’m going to place my bet on “appease the mainstream audiences” winning the bout. I can name two movies it’s already stolen from, Fight Club and Rocky. Can Hollywood really be this desperate for ideas?
The movie stars male model-turned-actor Channing Tatum (Stop-Loss) as Shawn McArthur, a directionless youth who has to resort to selling counterfeit products in the streets of New York City to stay alive. When a hoodlum tries to steal some of his merchandise, Shawn beats him down. Harvey Boarden (Terrence Howard, Hustle and Flow), an underground street fighting coach, takes notice of Shawn’s skills and offers to be his coach. Shawn, desperate for the money, accepts Harvey’s offer to join the street fighting circuit. While training to be ultimate fighter, he also meets love interest Zulay Velez (Zulay Henao). With the help of Harvey and Zulay, Shawn leaves his past existence behind and strives for power and respect as the supreme street fighter.
I have to be honest, this movie looks pretty poor. Not only does it take the whole underground fighting idea from Fight Club (without the ingenious subtext), but it also takes the element of “down on his luck fighter who, with help of his manager, strives to be the next big thing” from Rocky. Plus, the acting looks horrendous. Channing Tatum has yet to be good in anything and he doesn’t have an impressive resume, with things like Step-Up and She’s the Man. I had never seen Zulay Velez (the female lead) before seeing the trailer, but one thing I’m sure of is that her character’s name wasn’t written as Zulay in the script. As if every woman you know is named Zulay, right? Terrence Howard should be ashamed of himself for being in this. I normally love the guy. He was so good in Hustle and Flow (Oscar Nominee for Best Actor) and having him resort to obvious garbage like this is sad. Hopefully this is one of those “just need a paycheck” movies for him and yes, even he doesn’t look good.
Fighting (with its dumb title) is directed and co-written by Dito Montiel. This will be his second directorial project, the first being A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (which co-starred Tatum). That film received awards at Sundance and was also nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards. Fighting looks like the dreaded “sophomore slump” has been hit for Montiel. Since Montiel’s debut received all the accolades, could the blame for this trash by placed on co-writer Robert Munic (Creator of the TV show, “The Cleaner”)? Either way, whoever conceived this stupid idea should have been knocked out.
Fighting opens April 24th.