You would think a movie called Fighting knows what it is. I mean, they say it right in the title. But Fighting wants to be more, which maybe it could be. Its ideas end up being a little bigger than its abilities.
Movie Review: Fighting
The fights are rough and tumble, definitely not glamorous. The shaky cam zooms and cuts don’t help, but you can tell what’s difficult about each fight. A real boxer is tough for a street fighter. A big guy is just big. A martial artist is too nuanced, though fighting Cung Le on marble is intense.
Each fight is accompanied by ethnically specific music. That distinguishes each fight, but also stereotypes it.
The characters are a little more interesting than the formula. There are daddy issues but different decision making. Earning the cronies’ respect is a lame plot point and non sequiturs on texting neither deepen the world of the film nor comment on the social phenomenon.
Some of it is just nonsense. Scenes are vague so that they can surprise you later with what really happened, but that doesn’t count. It’s only a surprise if the scene looks one way when it’s actually another. If the scene just doesn’t make sense, if someone gets up to leave before their food arrives, if they deliver money without even talking about what the deal is, it’s not a surprise. It’s like in all this drama, they forgot to have a scene.
The dialogue tries to be natural while still forwarding the plot, only it’s not natural and it barely moves the story forward. Nobody is eloquent or articulate, they stumble on words and repeat themselves a lot, like real people without a script do. But that’s also contrived because it’s a movie and either there was a script, or they’re improvising by stuttering and repeating themselves.
You do feel the frustration in dealing with condescending douche bags. The douche bags are really overwrought too. They really douche it up.
For movie called Fighting, there’s very little fighting. Only four organized fights, five if you count the opening street brawl. There’s only about 10 seconds of training too. What a missed opportunity. There’s a looooong time between the last two fights.
Ultimately, Fighting is satisfying. It gets the job done, delivers the goods. You root for the hero even if the technique is pretentious and sloppy. If you want to see a simple movie about fighting, then go see Fighting.