Thursday, April 23, 2009

"Fighting" Review

Every so often a movie comes along that completely defies your expectations. Sometimes this happens in a positive way. Other times, not so much. Well, I'm happy to report that despite my incredibly low expectations for "Fighting", the end result was much worse than I honestly expected.

"Fighting" stars Channing Tatum as Shawn MacArthur, a street vendor of knock off goods in New York City. At least until he defends himself from some people trying to steal his stuff and Harvey Boarden (Terrence Howard) inexplicably sees an underground fighter in him. So when Shawn goes to confront Harvey, Harvey offers him the opportunity to fight, right there on the spot, and Shawn mindbogglingly accepts this offer from a man who coordinated a theft from him just hours earlier.

That's essentially all that you need to know about "Fighting." Despite the fact that the title of the movie is "Fighting", there's surprisingly little fighting in it. Nothing in the movie will surprise you in any way except for how paint-by-numbers it all is. Anyone who has seen a movie will be able to telegraph each plot point a mile away.

And of course, characterization isn't necessary when you are able to just glide through a plot of this nature. Nope, just stick a few characters with a few stereotypical "from the streets" backstories, and you have yourself a movie. And the acting isn't any better. Howard, who normally excels in his roles, seems to be channeling some sort of high functioning Rain Man in his speech patterns and Tatum just mumbles his lines probably hoping that you don't really hear anything he has to say since the writing is so atrocious.

Top it off with an incredibly hackneyed reluctant love interest, Zulay Valez (played by Zulay Henao, too lazy to even change the girl's first name) and there is pretty much nothing redeemable about this movie. And you really have to appreciate the way the line between persistence and stalking is drawn. Wait, it isn't? No, not at all. Shawn follows her around, waiting for her to show up in random places, buys her gifts within moments of getting her to agree to hang out with him and offers to pay for her apartment. (Maybe THAT'S where I'm going wrong in life. I'm not being stalkerish enough with women!)

Of course, this review wouldn't be worth much if I didn't mention the randomness. Between the guy who runs up and does a flip off the wall and a man dressed as a human taco who walks past the camera, there are plenty of "What the hell is that?" moments that permeate the entire movie. I don't know if the intent is to confuse you so you don't realize how terrible the movie itself is, but if that is the case, no, it didn't work.

I barely even want to mention the fighting itself. There are four fights, all lasting fewer than 5 minutes. A movie called "Fighting" put less than 20 minutes of fights in the whole movie, yet somehow was able to stretch the running time to 1 hour and 45 minutes. And filled that with what? Story? No. None to be had here. Completely unacceptable.

"Fighting" has the distinct privelage of being one of the worst movies I've seen in the theater in a long time and would not recommend the movie to anyone. Anyone at all. Seriously. Don't go see it.


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