The Philly Kid (2012) Poster

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A great little film that proves that they can still be made...
roadstar0623 May 2012
OK, It's not an epic, and it certainly could have some smoother edits, but as jaded as I can be after roughly 5000 movies I think that this is a very good film.

First remember the genre'. The story is well paced and shot nicely. They have resisted the urge to cut too fast, and this gives actors the chance to embrace a scene, making it believable. This is better than many big budget, big name parades that present themselves as quality but miss the mark. Fun,engaging and well acted,Wes Chatham,Devon Sawa, Sarah Butler,and Adam Mervis do a lot to develop believable and vulnerable characters within the constraints of a compact but well written script. I look forward to following their promising careers. Butler in particular is need that one big opportunity and she'll light up the screen. Sarah Butler deserves kudos for being extremely endearing quickly and adding real weight to the tension within the story. Devon Sawa, a winner.He just is. I've always been Neal McDonough fan and he has the talent and charisma that makes the viewer hope for more screen time.

A very good movie. AND I am a very jaded reviewer.
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Average in every aspect
djo_3427 July 2012
I think anytime you watch a movie about something in which you are knowledgeable there is an excellent chance you will be disappointed. Movies when people click on a keyboard for 2 minutes and crack the CIA firewall or alien codes! Or when Japanese import cars are red-lined but seem to continue to rev higher and go faster with nitrous. Or football movies where people are diving left and right, but never at the ball carrier.

This film is no different. The fight scenes weren't bad. Not even close to real, but better than other movies I've seen. The acting wasn't bad. The plot wasn't bad. Bearable, entertaining, but nothing exceptional.

The plot has the lead actor fighting THREE fights to pay off a debt of his loser friend. After TWO fights, against virtually unknown local fighters, an MMA organization seeks him out and offers him a contract fight. The representative of the organization says they've been tracking his career. What??? His first fight was with no training after 10 years in prison. The second a few weeks later. Thousands of fighters across the nation, and they take notice of a guy with 2 wins in as many weeks against local nobodies??? Good grief.

His third fight is against a guy twice his weight that moves like an 80-year-old. Look, it isn't the UFC, but there are still weight classes! I won't reveal any more and risk spoiling the end.

Bottom line... worth watching over regular TV... but nothing beyond average.
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Decent "B" MMA/Fight drama
canike0719 May 2012
I recently rented this off ITunes. I wasn't expecting much but to be entertained for 90 minutes and that's exactly what I got. The star Wes chatham as a recently paroled ex- NCAA wrestler played a believable role as someone forced to fight in the cage in order to save his longtime friend played by Devon sawa (almost unregognizable with his new veneer teeth) the fights are pretty well choreographed and are pretty realistic. To sum things up I would recommend this to fight fans or anyone looking to be entertained for 90 minutes. This is the fourth film I've seen in the after dark action films with the exception of stash house.
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Step into the cage with the Philly Kid
rgblakey24 October 2012
With the explosion of the MMA world there have been more and more films following it but much like every other genre they don't always work. The latest to tackle the genre is the Philly Kid featuring Wes Chatham, Devon Sawa, Neal McDonough, and Michael Jai White. Can this latest fight drama deliver the one two punch is it striving for or will it get knocked down for the count?

Philly Kid follows a former NCAA wrestler just out of jail who is forced into the underground cage fighting scene to save a friend's life. This film doesn't bring anything all that new to the genre, but it is still well crafted enough to be entertaining. The story here is a pretty straight forward formula that has been used countless times, but works to deliver the overall feel they are going for. The performances were all decent enough, but sadly Michael Jai White is barely here. He has such a commanding presence whether he is fighting of just talking that his bits are great, but isn't given anything to do to bring this movie up a notch. Neal McDonough did a great job, but in reality it would have been nice to see him and White switch places as they are both better fit for the other parts. IT was nice to see Devon Sawa who had a huge surge for a while there, then seemingly dropped out of the spotlight for a bit. Chatham did a decent job carrying the film, but just didn't bring anything all that special to the role. The real spotlight here is really the fighting which is well done, but never really pushes the boundaries to give it the stand out action it needed.

Philly Kid is a decent addition to the MMA genre delivering some decent performances and action. With a little more time spent on stepping up the quality of the action it could have been so much more, but unless you are actually into martial arts, then it probably won't be anything you notice because it is well shot and executed. If you're looking for a decent martial arts rental then give Philly Kid a try.
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Another "Warrior" type movie that is actually pretty good. Fight scenes were realistic but acting was lacking. I say B+
cosmo_tiger6 July 2012
"I took these fights to pay off your debt, do you understand that? I fight one more time and that's where it ends." Dillon (Chatham) is among, if the the best NCAA wrestlers in the country. One night when him and his friends are at a convenience store something goes wrong and he ends up in jail. Ten years later he is finally out and ready to start his life again. After his friend is taken and beaten because he owes money Dillon agrees to do cage fights in order to pay back the debt. After he goes on a winning streak the wrong kind of people begin to find him. In the 80's it seemed like any type of fighting movie was based in the boxing world. Little by little that has changed and UFC-style is now the go to sport. After movies like "Warrior" more and more are being made about that life. To start with I will say that this is actually a very good movie with the most realistic fighting scenes I have seen in a movie in a long time. The acting is decent and passable for a movie like this, but most people don't watch this for the acting. Very entertaining and exciting but a little predictable. That doesn't really hurt the movie at all though. I recommend this. Overall, if you liked "Warrior" then you will really like this one too. I did. I give it a B+.
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the Most ridiculous and amateur movie ever made
raimorio12 January 2014
We watched this on Netflix with my friends one night and man am I surprised we managed to complete it, it was probably because it made us laugh so hard and in that respect it could be given a few stars, the problem is that it wasn't a comedy. Nope, instead, it was a poor attempt at something which failed miserably.

I have seriously never seen a script that was as ridiculously mediocre, cliché driven, boring and retarded as the one that this movie was based on. The acting was very average and only added to the fact that you simply could not take this movie seriously. Every scene was shot like an amateur would shoot it. Everything that happened was not believable. I mean I didn't find one redeeming factor in this whole film.

This is at the level of old b-grade action movies of the 80's and 90's, except that it was done in the 21st century. I mean usually even if there is a bad action movie now days, it simply does not reach the level of amateur camera work and retarded shots as this one. The script is usually the biggest flaw, maybe some retarded acting, but at least the directing is generally to at least some extent acceptable, but here. Oh man I don't understand how anybody could succeed in doing something so retarded.

The behavior of the people in this script was taken straight from a soap opera, the emotions and expressions were not believable, rather made you laugh. It was all just so stupid that you ended up laughing the whole movie. I'm not gonna even bother going to the details. If you are going to watch this film, prepare to roll on the floor.
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this is actually not bad
rightwingisevil22 May 2012
for a UFC fighting style movie. for a meager $5 mil. production budget, this movie turned out not bad at all passed the ceiling level of a B movie. but there are still some weird directing weaknesses: 1) the badly scripted then uniform cop then detective after 10 yrs. looked more like thugs and holding grudge for 10 yrs against the man who didn't shoot his partner is such a weak plot. 2) the parole officer is also a very weird role created in this movie. 3) the liquor store never got one customer but both owner and the employee still doing shelving restocking and storage room inventory daily. how this liquor store survived? 4) michael jay white became a syndicate fixer and a thug is a stretch. 5) the time frame of being a young man then spent 10 years in prison, came out still looked the same is another stretch; out of prison at age of ??? ain't he a bit too old? 6) the underground UFC style cage fights arrangement is a bit weak; 7) a billet shot through the cheek, yet not even swollen after the stitching-up is another stretch, and the bullet wound scar just like a dimple? man, this is what? korean plastic surgery?

anyway, this is still a movie with very weak screenplay but performed by a very good tense gradually matured actor with quite believable fighting act.
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No, it's not in Philadelphia
bkoganbing16 October 2017
The Philly Kid is a film about the Mixed Martial Arts fight game and if you think it's set in Philadelphia as I did you will be wrong. It is set in New Orleans and curiously enough nobody in that whole cast speaks with anything remotely resembling an accent you would find in New Orleans. You might as well have set the film in Philadelphia.

Other than that this is a pretty good film in the tradition of such fine boxing films like Champion, The Set-Up, The Square Jungle and the more recent Split Decisions. Young Wes Chatham and his friends Devon Sawa and Kris Von Damme are just out for an evening and truly and innocently get involved in a cop killing. Von Damme is dead, Sawa is wounded and Chatham does 10 years for something he didn't do.

Chatham was at one a promising college wrestler and when he gets out he finds Sawa in heavy to some gamblers. He learns the mixed martial arts game and agrees to some fights to get Sawa out of debt. He also falls for Sawa's sister Sarah Butler.

Like those other cited films The Philly Game is very honest and lucid about showing all the crookedness and double dealing that goes on. It's realistic and at times very brutal. Chatham has to navigate between gangsters, crooked promoters, and one bad crooked cop.

The fight scenes are as realistic as when I've looked in on real mixed martial arts matches. My favorite scene is when Chatham is drugged during a match and still comes out on top. All due to a fighting heart and an old wrestling maneuver.

The Philly Game did not get much notice coming out, but it's an undiscovered diamond in the raw if you look.
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splinter_cell_lee10 May 2013
The movie exceeded my expectations, the fighting was rather realistic for most of the first half of the movie, I cringed when they called an arm triangle/head and arm choke a "guillotine choke" in the last half of the movie but otherwise it was alright. I thought it was funny seeing the villain from Walking Tall in there and Rich Clementi as the secondary trainer made me crack a grin. All in all I give it a 7 out of 10, it's at least worth a one-time watch especially for MMA fans. Some interesting stuff I would suppose. I thought the acting of course could have been better and the budget was a bit bad (the gunshot wound), but the story was decent in my opinion. I would and probably will watch it again.
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My first review of the new year goes to "The Philly Kid" - Nice punching sounds...
dee.reid31 December 2012
"The Philly Kid" has some nice punching sounds. I mean that, really. Of all the low-budget martial arts action movies in recent years, there's finally a fight movie with some impressive punching sound effects. Of course movies in recent years are going for more realism than in times past, but sometimes I really yearn for the old-school days of outrageous sound effects sometimes.

But despite the obviously low budget, "The Philly Kid" has a typical-sounding plot that serves merely as a thread for impressively choreographed fight sequences. But the by-the-numbers plot is carried by an enthusiastic lead performance by Wes Chatham, who is able to make his character all of likable and sympathetic - like the best characters that Jean-Claude Van Damme played early in his career in movies like "Bloodsport" (1988), "Kickboxer" (1989) and "Lionheart" (1990), the latter film which this movie (and most others like it) owes the biggest debt of legacy to.

And despite his impressive good-boy looks, he is not a lunk-head, but is actually bright and intelligent and believes in doing the right thing. And it certainly makes his progression through the film's flimsy plot not a chore but something close to an actual journey as he undergoes some form of a positive transformation into a better person, however marginalized by society at large.

Things begin with a simple quest for booze for a night of harmless underage drinking with Dillon Maguire (Chatham), his friend Jake (Devon Sawa), and a third friend. When they're accosted by a trio of thugs, Dillon, the top collegiate wrestling prospect in the world, accidentally kills one of them in self-defense. To make matters worse, one of his friends was carrying a gun and accidentally shot and killed one of the police officers responding to the disturbance.

As a result, both Dillon and Jake are sent to prison for 10 years. When Dillon is finally released, Jake (who had been paroled four years earlier) manages to track him down and get him a job with his uncle in a liquor store. Because Jake has suddenly become indebted to some ruthless local gangsters, Dillon agrees to settle his debts for him by jumping into the world of underground mixed martial arts fighting. In doing so, he seeks out the training of a former champ, LA Jim (Neal McDonough), so he can compete and settle his friend's pricey debts.

"The Philly Kid" is a lot like most underground fight competition movies in the four decades since the explosion of martial arts movies in the 1970s in the wake of Bruce Lee. But what gets it by is the lead performance by Wes Chatham. As I stated before, his character has been through some pretty rough patches for such a young man, and his journey into the world of underground cage fighting can be seen as his way of seeking redemption and becoming a better person so he can enjoy a better life for himself - and his new love Amy (Sarah Butler).

The fight sequences are pretty brutal and look realistic, with Dillon Maguire dishing out punishment to his opponents while also taking some punishment of his own. "The Philly Kid" was directed by Jason Connery and written by Adam Mervis, and it's an impressive low-budget feature with some good performances. The action scenes are also stand-out, as I previously mentioned.

It's well worth at least one viewing.

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His Only Way Out is Getting Back In
gradyharp2 December 2012
Ever since the popularity of HUNGER GAMES the concept of watching young people in cages fight each other with no holds barred even to the death, have proliferated. Says something about the audience desires, or fads, or the gladiator mentality in all mankind since the Roman arenas. THE PHILLY KID is a low budget little pertinent drama that for the genre is better than the usual. Written by Adam Mervis (who also acts the role of the main character's understanding parole officer) and directed with fine pacing by Jason Connery, the movie somehow catches fire - likely due to a cast of up and coming young actors.

Dillon (Wes Chatham, a hunk newbie the camera loves) is a former NCAA champion wrestler has just been released form 10 years in prison for braking the neck of a thug during a holdup in front of a liquor store where he (at around age 16) was buying alcohol with a fake ID for his friend Jake (Devon Sawa, impressive in a difficult role). Dillon now lives in a filthy halfway house and is without money until his old friend Jake finds him a job in a liquor store owned by a kindly man Lenny (Bernard Hocke). Jake's sister Amy (Sarah Butler) is on the scene and eventually becomes the love interest for Dillon. It seems Jake is heavily in debt to conman Ace (Lucky Johnson) and Jake, knowing Dillon's ability as a wrestler, pleads with Dillon to fight for money in the underground cage fighting scene to save a Jake's life. Another evil force is the police officer Marks (Chris Browning) who arrested Dillon and who hates him and threatens his life if he doesn't fix a fight. Dillon trains, wins some fights, (he is supposed to fight only three fights for Ace to release Jake's debt), and is observed and ultimately trained by LA Jim (Neal McDonough). From there on it is a succession of bloody fights and gore until the end finds a resolution.

The cat is strong and is supported by some solid work by Eric Scott Woods and Michael Jai White. It is always satisfying to see new faces take on tough roles and this cadre of actors pulls it off very well. Not a great film, but a well crafted one for the genre.

Grady Harp
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Decent UFC cashing low budget fighting movie
destroyerwod15 May 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Very small spoilers about the intro sequence only, the rest is spoiler free. I only mention it to stay clear with IMDb.

This movie is the equivalent of the kickboxing movie made in the 90s when that sport was on the rise. These days, UFC and MMA in general are all over the place and many movies with low budget are made in that vein. Some works good, some just not. The Philly Kid(or Born to Fight as its title in Canada on my DVD case) is one that pretty much work very fine.

My only problem is about the intro sequence. The way its show is totally unbelievable. That he kill the thug is OK and could happen, but when the cops arrive, that his friend still hold the gun, that the cops are trigger happy and shoot even tough he dosen't aim them at all and more specifically the 10 years old grudge of the cop just because he was present(and yet cooperated in his arrest) when his dying friend Accidentally shot the other cop dosen't make sense at all.

Then you see how dirty and rotten that cop is anyway and you can't really understand why he kept that grudge for so long and all. Overall its a pretty bad plot point, but the rest of the movie and the rest of the characters are all fine and nicely done.

One important thing tough that really annoyed me on my first view of the movie, i was expecting Michael Jay White to be one of the important characters considering he is on the cover yet he got only a VERY small role, merely an extended cameo and he dosen't fight at all. I am glad i made my review on my second viewing cause it could had alter my review of an otherwise pretty good movie if i had done it on the first view. I know they put him on the cover to make people rent/buy the movie, but its disappointing to expect something and be fooled.

But like i said otherwise a pretty nice movie, this is one of the situation where i would like IMDb to include ratings with 0.5. Cause i think this movie is a solid 7.5 rating, so i will go to 8/10 cause it deserve it more than 7.
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Not "Warrior" but it sure tries hard
A_Different_Drummer24 August 2016
You have to remember that most MMA films are from an alternate universe where the normal rules of film-making do not apply.

Most MMA films are nod-nod-wink-wink "vanity" projects done mainly so the producers and stars can spend the next few years bragging they "did a movie." Scripts, acting, direction, all usually terrible.

Every now and then you get a project like Warrior -- possibly the best MMA film ever done -- and you remember that it is indeed possible to do something that rises above the rest.

Philly Kid is no WARRIOR but a decent script, a decent star and the frenetic pacing of Sean Connery's son Jason (as director) keeps it moving along nicely.

In fact, whereas with most MMA efforts the challenge is listing all the reasons that it failed, with Philly the challenge is figuring out how it could have been even better? Chatham does a great job. He not only seems willing to tackle his next fight opponent, he seems willing to tackle a script that constantly has him playing catch-up. This a character who has literally no control whatsoever over his life until the final scenes of the movie.

I think that is the problem.

The intention was likely to setup a "story" problem and then reverse it (just like in a real fight) but by the time Chatham's character comes into his own, it is arguably too little too late.

And for that single reason, in the opinion of this reviewer, this solid effort never rises above the rank of wannabee.

But for the genre, it is not bad at all.
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