MMA Fighter Gordon Shell is heading into the ring one last time despite a career ending heart condition. Defying his doctor's orders Gordon will enter the cage to fight for something he ...
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MMA Fighter Gordon Shell is heading into the ring one last time despite a career ending heart condition. Defying his doctor's orders Gordon will enter the cage to fight for something he believes in; the rescuing of abandoned and abused dogs used in dog fighting. Gordon trains, fights and saves dogs which has garnered him the nickname "The Dog Fighter". We follow him from the gym, to the streets and into the ring where he will fight so they don't have to. This is his story.Written by
I've become familiar with Gordon Shell on matters of animal rights and abuse awareness. The movie is both biographical in that you learn plenty about Gordon as a person, and documentary as it speaks to his fighting and work towards ending dog fighting alongside the Michigan Humane Society.
Detaching myself from that and being objective, I learned a considerable amount about what goes in to fight preparation as well as what a humane society officer does as part of their job. It was interesting to see the drama unfolding - the doctor declining to approve Gordon's fight, Gordon trying to make weight, and the effect this whole process had on Gordon's marriage. Even just watching his body transform in advance of this process is something special.
But at no point does the movie become so personal that you lose track of why he's doing all this. Every so often, imagery of dogs fighting for just moments will flash on screen to remind you this is the real battle. The movie does an excellent job of keeping itself focused on its topic while still including useful supplemental footage to support those themes.
I'm impressed that someone with such a cavalier attitude about dog fighting was available as an opponent, creating a perfect enemy to root against. However, at no point did Gordon's humanity waiver during the course of the fight. While one of the takeaways is "this man is a hero" his deflection back to the dogs ensures that's the image you're left with, and their fight still needs to be won.
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