Saturday, May 15, 2010

Maggie 2010: Fighting

#65. Fighting

Man, it's so hard to be a white boy out of college. You just can't get no street cred! You gotta fight every ethnic flavour from the ground up to make something of yourself. Or at least that's what I learned watching Fighting -- and believe you me, the lesson isn't exactly subtle. The problem is, mild-mannered Shawn MacArthur (Channing Tatum), counterfeiter turned street fighter under the wing of scam artist Harvey Boarden (Terrence Howard), is way too much of a good guy. He's boring. His friendship with Harvey, their heart-to-hearts in the face of poverty and failure, are way too convenient and uninteresting. And then there's the absence of training sequences: we're somehow to believe that Shawn MacArthur can face a rival from his past -- a guy with a trainer, access to a rigourous fitness protocol, and undoubtedly a decent diet as well -- from his position as a street bum we only once, very briefly, see train. Riiiiight. In order to keep Shawn playing the part of pretty-boy, director Dito Montiel also decided, in his infinite wisdom, to have Shawn take blow after blow to the head and body without displaying any real injury whenever love interest Zulay Velez (Zulay Henao) pops up. Anyway, this would all be forgivable if these tedious storyline developments led up to some really intense fights, but the merit of showcasing various mixed martial arts in Shawn's fights is utterly lost in the camerawork, which despite managing a few interesting shots leaves the viewer fairly wanting for play-by-plays. Ong Bak does it better. Even Redbelt does it better. Compared to so many entries in this genre (from action-centred to broody drama alike), Fighting just doesn't live up to its name.

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