Compelling But Materialistic
Release Date: April 24, 2009
Starring: Channing Tatum, Terrence
Howard, Luis Guzman, Zulay
Henao, Brian White
Genre: Sports Drama
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 105 minutes
Distributor: Rogue Pictures/Relativity
Director: Dito Montiel
Executive Producer: Lisa Bruce and Andrew Rona
Producer: Kevin Misher
Writer: Dito Montiel and Robert Munic
Address Comments To:Ryan Kavanaugh, CEO
Tucker Tooley, President of Production
Relativity Media (Rogue Pictures)
8899 Beverly Blvd., Suite 510
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Phone: (310) 859-1250
Fax: (310) 859-1254
The story opens on the streets near Radio City Music Hall in New York City. A young white guy, Shawn (newcomer Channing Tatum), tries to sell some counterfeit goods, but a black scam artist named Harvey (Terrence Howard), with help from a couple other men, manages to disrupt Shawn’s sales and steal his money during a scuffle.
Shawn catches up with Harvey and one of the men at a small diner, where he demands his money back. Harvey gladly gives it back to him, but makes a proposition. Harvey tells Shawn that he thinks he Shawn has what it takes to make some money as a street fighter.
Almost overnight, Shawn becomes a star brawler in the corrupt bare-knuckle circuit in town. Using his earnest charm, he even manages to begin a tentative romance with a beautiful waitress who is also a single mother. Furthermore, he develops a bond of grudging respect and friendship with Harvey.
Shawn’s relationship with Harvey becomes strained, however, when Harvey suggests that Shawn throw one of his fights. What will happen to Shawn and Harvey, including their partnership?
FIGHTING is raw and exciting. What makes it stand out, however, is Terrence Howard’s amazingly natural and vivid performance. The rest of the actors are good, but Howard is superlative. He has a way of speaking and moving that imbues his characters with a solid, natural reality that’s piercingly interesting and soulful. This comes as no surprise, of course, since MOVIEGUIDE® has been impressed with Mr. Howard’s talent ever since we first noted his performance in 1999’s THE BEST MAN.
All that said, the story itself is still somewhat simple and conventional. Also, the movie doesn’t make any firm, positive moral or spiritual points. In fact, the core of the movie is essentially a conventional story about two men trying to climb the ladder of success by defeating their opponents, sometimes in brutal or deceitful fashion. This dilutes the heroic possibilities in the script and its characters (unlike a movie such as ROCKY), even though the movie succeeds in getting viewers to root for its sympathetic, struggling underdogs. FIGHTING also contains plenty of foul language and a scene of implied sex between the protagonist and his new girlfriend.
Overall, therefore, MOVIEGUIDE® gives FIGHTING three stars and advises extreme caution.
FIGHTING is raw and exciting. What makes it stand out, however, is Terrence Howard’s amazingly natural and vivid performance. The rest of the actors are good, but Howard is superlative. All that said, the story itself is still somewhat simple and conventional. Also, the movie doesn’t make any firm, positive moral or spiritual points. This dilutes the story’s heroic possibilities. FIGHTING also contains some foul language, intense sometimes-brutal violence and an implied sex scene. Thus, MOVIEGUIDE® gives FIGHTING three stars and advises extreme caution.