3.8/10
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10 user 5 critic

The Circuit 2: The Final Punch (2002)

Prisoners are dying at the Ogden Correctional Institution, a prison where a corrupt Warden has taken justice and business into his own hands. In the bowels of this prison, an underground ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Olivier Gruner ...
Dirk
Jalal Merhi ...
Bill
...
Max
Michael Blanks ...
Black Jack
Gail Harris ...
Nicole
...
Warden Biggs (as Shant Bejanian)
...
Baxter
Jim Shagen ...
Pike (as Jim Schagen)
...
Slash
...
Dermot
...
Ming Li
Elise Moller ...
Betsy
...
Twist
...
Parking Lot Thug (as Chino XL - Haugen)
Nino Cappuccino ...
Parking Lot Thug
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Storyline

Prisoners are dying at the Ogden Correctional Institution, a prison where a corrupt Warden has taken justice and business into his own hands. In the bowels of this prison, an underground fighting society has been formed. The Circuit is flourishing until investigative reporter Nicole Kent is thrown into the mix, and into Pike's cell where she is viciously attacked and left for dead. Enter Dirk Longstreet. Dirk, who was once a fighting champion on the Eastern seaboard circuit, now has to sit idly by as his girlfriend fights for her life. Dirk decides to fight for revenge. Written by Matt Huston

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Fight to get in. Die to get out.

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Action | Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violent content and some language | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

15 July 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Circuit 2  »

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User Reviews

 
"I want to know if you can fight"
19 January 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The B-movie snob in me claims that ever since Isaac Florentine released his UNDISPUTED sequels, there's really no reason to branch into other prison fight flicks. Such snootiness was probably justified for the below-average Olivier Gruner vehicle THE CIRCUIT, but less so when it comes to that one's sequel. THE CIRCUIT 2 makes a genuine effort to address the shortcomings of its predecessor and is definitely the better movie, though its considerable faults will probably make it a waste of time for viewers who aren't already fans of the low-budget fight scene. Gruner fans ought to definitely investigate.

The story: When his significant other pays dearly for investigating an organized prison fighting circuit, the returning Dirk Longstreet (Gruner) goes undercover as an inmate to break the secret to the world…and exact revenge.

As far as prison flicks go, this one is pretty tame, with minimal exploitation and even a noticeable lack of outright brutality when it comes to the brawls. The utilization of the cast is likewise a soft touch: in addition to Olivier, the lineup's comprised of B-grade butt-kickers Lorenzo Lamas, Jalal Merhi, Michael Blanks, Shaun Benjamin, and Gary Hudson, and while Lamas, Blanks, and Hudson mix it up physically, they're definitely not being used to their fullest extent. Blanks' involvement is particularly disappointing, because he's set up as a strong supporting character but ends up not doing more than fighting. The storyline is straight-forward but still has time for the occasional fruitless detour and goofiness: warden Benjamin impresses on Gruner his need to have a dominant white champion to appease the supposedly racist audience, but this never seems to be an issue, and later there's an unintentionally humorous scene wherein Gruner engages in an hours-long foot chase with the main fighter (Jim Shagen).

There's a *lot* of fighting in this movie: only counting the fights that last at least ten seconds brings me to 21 separate brawls. Their quality is a major step up from the abortive scraps of the original feature, with an admirable variety of fighting styles on display, some choreographic highlights, and a satisfying scene wherein Gruner and Lorenzo Lamas team up to fight some thugs in a parking lot (it's a funny juxtaposition wherein Olivier is clearly giving his all but Lamas dispatches opponents with customary ease). Gruner looks legitimately skilled and powerful, like a UFC competitor, and faces a unique roster of opponents including a high-kicking Larnell Stovall and a whip-wielding Robert Chapin. Nevertheless, I can't point to a single encounter as an objectively great fight. Many of them are one-sided, and even moments of directorial ambitiousness are diluted by poor camera-work and editing. The film climaxes with a tournament, but it's meaningless because most of the matches are over so quickly that you hardly have enough time to distinguish between the fighters.

Still, I give the cumulative package a passing score, and with the final installment to the CIRCUIT trilogy unlikely to receive a North American release, we can at least say that the west's exposure to the franchise ended on a decent note. Fight fans can easily bear it on a slow night, and fans who enjoy Olivier's work mainly for the kickboxing ought to be happy with this. Don't go out of your way for this one, but don't give it the cold shoulder, either.


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