The movie is a coming-of-age drama about a boy growing up in Astoria, N.Y., during the 1980s. As his friends end up dead, on drugs or in prison, he comes to believe he has been saved from their fate by various so-called saints.
Robert Downey Jr.,
Shawn MacArthur, the kind-hearted son of an Alabama wrestling coach, makes a grim living selling fake products on the streets in New York. After dealing with thieving punks, he's discovered by bare-knuckle/street-fight manager, Harvey Boarden. He soon proves himself worthy and starts earning a small fortune, part of which he volunteers to spend on single mother Zulay Velez. Shawn doesn't cheat and that seems to be a major problem, notably after the arrival of his Alabama high-school rival. Written by
The character Zulay Velez grandmother pronounces her name slightly differently than the rest of the cast at the suggestion of writer Kevin Misher. Misher thought it would indicate a closer relationship between Zulay and her grandmother as family/friends often have pet names for each other. See more »
In the scene where Harvey pays a visit to Jack's office in the back of the store. Harvey knocks on the door then proceeds to enter the room. In the next shot, one of Jack's men opens the door for Harvey and there is a wall and a clothes rack behind Harvey. See more »
We're going to sit down, people. And these two gentlemen are going to go toe to toe, blow to blow. Whatever goes on up here, whatever. Whatever you do to each other, whatever. Whatever you say to each other, whatever. In the words of the late, great, American poet, Mr.Marvin Gaye, "Lets!... Get!... It!... On!"
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Fighting capitalizes on the basic entertainment value derived from audiences' desire to see an underdog rise from the ashes and emerge victorious. Upon closer inspection our protagonist proves not to be much of an underdog, but at least his battles against adversity and increasingly stronger opponents come with several camera tricks and creative sound effects to emphasize a high level of intensity and brutality even without the appropriate amount of bloodletting. Channing Tatum convincingly plays the unrefined and uneducated Southern fighter while Terrence Howard mimics a more iconic hustler, and while the film succeeds in the thrills of ruthless street fighting, it sadly falters in the original story department.
Young Shawn MacArthur (Channing Tatum) is reduced to selling bootlegs on the streets to survive in his newfound home of New York City. But his situation quickly changes when he meets hustler and con man Harvey Boarden (Terrence Howard), who introduces him to the dangerous and highly profitable world of underground street fighting. As he rapidly rises to the top, Shawn's unwavering code of honor and his troubled past will find him in the match of his life - and a fight for it.
Terrence Howard will likely receive plenty of praise for his role as a good-intentioned hustler, even though it almost completely duplicates Dustin Hoffman's famous turn as "Ratso" Rizzo. And as he helps the down-on-his-luck, fish-out-of-water counterfeiter succeed in underground fighting (initially swindling him, then offering a place to stay), it's difficult not to compare this film's plot to Midnight Cowboy with an anti-Rocky lead (complete with a very brief training montage on a subway), minus the aforementioned films' flawless execution.
When Shawn is most in need of money, he still insists upon his code of honor and refuses to throw a match. This is utterly ridiculous considering his reason for fighting and the fact that the fights themselves are "anything goes." Where's the honor in that? Apparently the trophy for integrity outweighs the desire for food and shelter, especially for someone content with living like a derelict.
At least there's humor found in desperation, and comic relief in the quagmire of hustling taking place. The laughably bad supporting villains and perfectly cliché main rival don't help Fighting with the sense of distinction so desperately needed after swallowing the simplicity of the title. And when the first two fights establish that skills are pointless in the face of an unruly free-for-all, it's even more difficult to care whether or not Shawn sticks to his principles, wins the girl, gains respect amongst his friends, or defeats his nemesis - all formulaically in that order.
The Massie Twins
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