29 user 12 critic

Embattled (2020)

2:31 | Trailer
A son aspires to follow in his famous MMA father's footsteps, but along his journey must figure out how to break the abusive cycle, if possible, that his father has continued.


Nick Sarkisov


David McKenna
4,958 ( 315)





Credited cast:
Elizabeth Reaser ... Susan
Stephen Dorff ... Cash
Donald Faison ... Mr. Stewart
Saïd Taghmaoui ... Claude
Darren Mann ... Jett Boykins
Karrueche Tran ... Jade
Drew Starkey ... Tanner Van Holt
Drew Scheid ... Brian
Marie Burke ... Amber Jefferson
Mimi Davila ... Patty Martinez
Donald Cerrone ... Autograph Jack
Adam Karst ... Rami Elbahri
Ava Capri ... Keaton Carmichael
Lindsey Garrett ... Ms. Malek
Tyron Woodley Tyron Woodley ... Self


The young MMA fighter enters his first fight, seeking to repeat the path of his famous father - the champion in this sport. But the vicious circle of cruelty that the father supported turned out to be a point of no return for his son and a desire to find his own way. Written by Bazza the Beast

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

father | See All (1) »


God. Country. Family. Fight.


Action | Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive strong language and crude sexual references, violence and some nudity

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

User Reviews

A film that throws all the punches 👊 and then some
21 November 2020 | by TopDawgCriticSee all my reviews

Well, this film was not what I was expecting - and that's a good thing.

Firstly, outstanding casting and performances, especially Darren Mann, and, I'd say an Oscar worthy performance by Stephen Dorff who channeled his inner Conor McGregor, and a drunk deadbeat father and ex, like a champ.

At the start, I was a little lost in the story and it's characters. But then came to realize that even without the MMA storyline, this would've still been an outstanding film about a single mom due to an abusive past relationship, raising her kids on her own - one being in the autistic spectrum. Then add the story of her eldest son who's been manifesting the abusive past relationship with his father. Now how do we mix in some action into this story MMA style? Behold, Embattled.

This is writer David McKenna's only 11th writing credit, and he nailed it like a seasoned screenwriter. This film is a different kind of fighter story, one where the consequences of the fight are more important than the win-loss records of its fighters. It's an unforgettable family dynamics drama, that merely uses MMA as a jumping off point to far more interesting realms about emotional catharsis, both for the characters and for the viewer. The emotional heft of this story makes this one of the best sports films I've seen in a long time.

The cinematography was great and the score very fitting. The 117 min runtime felt a little long with the sometimes slow pacing, and I felt there were a little too many slow-mo shots. But considering this is amateur director Nick Sarkisov's 2nd ever dabble in filmmaking as producer and director, I'm going to be forgiving, because his directing otherwise, was on par with seasoned filmmakers, and for that, mad props and respect.

I can finally say during these times of isolation, this is a must-see film, and I will certainly be watching it again. It's a well deserved 9/10 from me. To see my review and rating system, or more of my 1000+ reviews, simply click on my username.

17 of 24 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 29 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.


Official Sites:

Official site





Release Date:

20 November 2020 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Embattled See more »

Filming Locations:

Birmingham, Alabama, USA


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$15,141, 22 November 2020

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Blitz Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed