Commentary

August 10, 2012

On DVD

Fly Over: “Fighting”

Hustler enters underground world of street fighting

by Capt. Tristan Hinderliter

The Thunderbolt staff seems to be on a mission to review every movie Channing Tatum has ever done, so I took one for the team and watched “Fighting,” his 2009 film about underground street fighting. Despite starring Tatum, Terrence Howard and Luis Guzman, I’m guessing most people have never heard of this movie. There’s a good reason for that.

Tatum can fight, as he did impressively in Steven Soderbergh’s “Haywire” in 2011. Unfortunately, the fighting, and pretty much everything else about this movie, is a joke.

Directed by Dito Montiel based on a screenplay by himself and Robert Munic, “Fighting” is the story of Sean MacArthur (Tatum), a young hustler who sells counterfeit goods on the streets of New York City.

One morning while hocking fake Harry Potter books on a corner adjacent to Radio City Music Hall, MacArthur gets in a fight with several men who try to rob him. Not wanting to attract the attention of the police, MacArthur flees. In the process, however, he is noticed by Harvey Boarden (Howard), a veteran street hustler, ticket scalper and, as we learn, underground fight promoter.

Soon after, the two men run into each other in a café and Boarden asks MacArthur if he’d like to make $5,000 for a fight. MacArthur agrees, and a few days later Boarden escorts him to Brooklyn for his first bout.

Bad movies about fighting make one appreciate good movies about fighting that much more. So, at the expense of violating the first two rules of Fight Club, I should mention I have never been more appreciative of that movie than while watching this one.

The fights in this film go on to violate every one of Tyler Durden’s other six rules. The result is absurd and laughably bad. Like in Fight Club, the brawls are bare knuckle, but there are no rules – scratching, biting and anything else you can think of is allowed. There is no ring or octagon; fights take place in the middle of a crowded roomful of people.

The fight scenes are terribly choreographed, shot and edited, using a sort of blurring camera effect to disguise the fact that none of the actors can actually fight.

MacArthur wins his first bout after his opponent runs into a drinking fountain and is knocked unconscious. Afterward, he goes to a nightclub where he meets a cute waitress, Zulay (played by an actress of the same name, Zulay Henao), who he becomes interested in. He also runs into an old acquaintance, Evan (Brian White), a professional fighter with whom he clearly has bad blood.

Up to this point, we know very little about MacArthur’s background. All we know is that he had been to college, which is surprising given his manner of speaking, vocabulary and grammar, all which are more street hustler than ivory tower. He is supposedly from Birmingham, Ala., but has no southern accent.

It is when Zulay does a Google search on MacArthur that we learn details of his background and the events that led him to his life in New York. Those details, however, are all too mundane. A couple more fights for increasingly high stakes lead MacArthur to a final confrontation with Evan and with his past.

For some reason, people are supposedly betting hundreds of thousands of dollars on this unsanctioned, unlicensed, unregulated street fight with no referee. Presumably in Dito Montiel’s universe, there is no UFC or boxing on TV.

Reaching heights of absurdity, before the final fight Boarden is negotiating with some gangsters on the purse for MacArthur’s fight and declares, “He’s the biggest draw in this town!” A dubious claim, to say the least.

If you want to watch a good movie about fighting, rent Gavin O’Connor’s “Warrior.” If you insist on watching Channing Tatum crack skulls, stick with “Haywire.”

“Fighting” is rated PG-13.



About the Author

Capt. Tristan Hinderliter
Capt. Tristan Hinderliter
Tristan Hinderliter is a full-time Public Affairs Officer and part-time pop culture critic. When he's not listening to the Adam Carolla Podcast, he's usually watching movies. His favorite directors include David Lynch, Paul Thomas Anderson, the Coen Brothers, Martin Scorsese, David Fincher and Alexander Payne.


All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

My personal leadership philosophy

My personal leadership philosophy can be summed up in just a few words — people first, mission always. Some may mistake the phrase “people first, mission always” as a dictum to coddle unit personnel through adversity, but actually, my focus is on preparing them to overcome adversity. The mission will always press on, but without...
 
 

Work, family balance success marker

“Being successful means having a balance of success stories across the many areas of your life. You can’t truly be considered successful in your business life if your home life is in shambles.” — Zig Ziglar In our careers, we frequently hear about the importance of having balance in our life and job. Some common...
 
 
Staff Sgt. 
TIMOTHY BOYER

Luke plays role in saving species

Staff Sgt.TIMOTHY BOYER A team of wildlife specialists prepare a Sonoran pronghorn for release into the wild at the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in Ajo. Sixty-nine pronghorn were captured this year. Of those, more tha...
 

 

News Briefs December 19, 2014

Road closure Litchfield Road at Northern Parkway is closed daily 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Sunday to paint the bridge overpass, weather permitting. Northern Parkway will remain open. Reems Road and Dysart Road are alternate routes. For more information, call MCDOT at 480-350-9288. MLK luncheon There will be a Martin Luther King Jr. luncheon...
 
 
Senior Airman 
JAMES HENSLEY

MWD Roy — partner, friend passes

Senior AirmanJAMES HENSLEY Staff Sgt. Scott Emmick, 56th Security Forces Squadron Military Working Dog handler, and Roy, 56th SFS MWD, play Dec. 14, 2012, at the at Luke Air Force Base kennels. The MWD and handler team plays to...
 
 

46 graduate ALS in class 15-1

The 56th Fighter Wing Airman Leadership School graduated 45 senior airmen and one staff sergeant Dec. 11 from class 15-1. The graduates are senior airmen unless otherwise noted. John L. Levitow award: Nathaniel Gladney, 56th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron Distinguished graduates: Matthew Goodspeed, 56th Operations Support Squadron; Russell Hires, 56th Medical Support Squadron; James Gilmore, 56t...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin