Now speaking of Tatum, a lot of people give the guy shit and I don’t find he deserves it (though it’s somewhat understandable after starring in something like STEP UP). He’s not a bad actor (there’s plenty worse out there), and handles himself well here when it comes to throwing down. I’m also a big Terrence Howard fan (and probably the only one upset over him being replaced in IRONMAN 2), I think the man’s got a tremendous presence in all his movies, no matter how big or small the role. The chemistry between their characters goes from rocky to genuine in a believable setting, considering each character’s background. They need each other, and grow on one another despite all the pitfalls surrounding their relationship. It was entertaining, despite the fact they focus more on Shawn’s quest to “be somebody” than actual fighting.
The plot and or story here is another matter entirely. First off, you may notice this weighs in dangerously close to the mixed martial arts flick NEVER BACK DOWN (especially by way of the rivalry angle). Now the random fact that Shawn is somewhat of a “bum” who ends up fighting for money to “rescue” a down on her luck mother/daughter/grandma package, reminds me of Van Damme’s similar situation in LIONHEART. This leads me to my one true complaint about this film. For a flick called FIGHTING, there sure as hell ain’t much of it going on, and as such will probably be the focus of most people’s complaints. The end fight was stellar, no question about it, but the three before it were so quick I didn’t dare blink and they in no way backed up the hype or quenched my thirst for violence.
I loved the camera work here, the visuals (especially all the city shots), were wonderful and transcended beautifully into crisp 1080p goodness. I expected Shawn to whoop a bit more ass, but his obsession with Zulay became a bigger part of the picture as time wore on. Not really a bad thing mind you, just not what people (myself included) are expecting to see. FIGHTING could’ve been far worse (like STREET FIGHTER: THE LEGEND OF CHUN LI), but instead I got a decent brawler flick with pretty good acting and a solid (predictable as hell) ending. What you see is what you get here, and you know exactly what that is from the trailer. Oh, and don’t get excited by the prospect of a “theatrical” and “unrated” cut of the film. The difference is a (drum roll) whopping three minutes.
Deleted Scenes: Eight minutes worth, and though I enjoyed the defending Harvey bit as well as the Harry Potter book scene, the rest were a wash and in some cases, didn’t really make much sense (I mean, seriously, we knew the grandmother was crazy).
D-Box/BD-Live: Two special features that unlock extras (like trailers and other exclusive content), but only if your Blu-ray machine is set up for it and can hook up to the internet. Even still, not much to write home about.
Extra Tidbit: Seeing Shawn’s fake Harry Potter book reminds me of all the crazy shit I used to see in China Town (Toronto). I had a woman try to sell me a live baby octopus once in a “black-market looking” pet store.