Fighting Dido Montiel

Fighting Dido Montiel
After suffering through the contrived ordeal that is Fighting, it seems clear that writer/director Dido Montiel has seen many an edgy '70s New York film, with a little Warriors, Mean Streets, Death Wish, The Wiz and even Saturday Night Fever slapped together for the annoyance that is this homage. What isn't clear is the idea that Montiel has any business making movies, as he doesn't seem to have anything say, other than, "wouldn't it be cool if someone made a stylized, '70s version of Lionheart?" The answer is a resounding no. Skipping the French Foreign Legion business of that JCVD, um, "classic," Fighting follows the street-smart Shawn MacArthur (Channing Tatum), as underground brawl pimp Harvey Boarden (Terrence Howard) takes him from selling counterfeit Harry Potter books on the street to the lucrative world of bare-knuckle fighting. From one gritty tussle to the next, each mixing up fist-fighting with some good ole rasslin', Shawn learns the rote lesson of "fight your way to the top" while romancing the very embodiment of the love interest cliché: a down on her luck waitress with a kid who's secretly mixed up in some nastiness. Whether our fisticuffing protag gets the girl or learns a valuable lesson is really a moot point, as it would be nearly impossible to identify with such a boring, wooden lunk head. Really, all the film succeeds in doing is making the world seem like a slightly more disgusting place, which isn't a particularly noteworthy feat. The DVD boasts two versions of the film, one being the PG-13/14A theatrical release and the other the "Unrated" version, which has three extra minutes of punching and swearing. Also included are a handful of deleted scenes, featuring some more dreadful dialogue and bad acting. (Universal)