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The tell-it-as-it-is title hardly indicates anything out of the ordinary, but this bare-knuckle boxing flick is put together with more love than you’d expect. The set-up’s bog standard: brawny Southerner Channing Tatum is barely scraping by on the streets of Manhattan, so two-bit hustler Terrence Howard ushers him into the world of no-holds-barred street fighting, arranged for the delectation of big-betting high-rollers.

Facing opponents twice his size, Tatum needs all his determination to emerge intact, but with waitress Zulay Henao supplying the love-of-a-good-woman, well… need I go on? Still, if the movie has the body of a Jean-Claude Van Damme flick, it has the soul of, say, ‘Midnight Cowboy’, as if director Dito Montiel simply ignored the formula outline and filled in the margins with as much heart as the circumstances allowed.

Let’s be clear, this doesn’t make ‘Fighting’ anything approaching quality. But never mind the story, check the feel, as the camera seeks out scuzzy corners of New York, Tatum generates genuine sweetness in the romantic clinches and Howard plays his doomed small-time fixer as an exercise in bipolar melancholy. Meanwhile Henao’s Cuban granny Altagracia Guzman is a treasure and Roger Guenveur Smith provides Mr Big weirdness on a Walkenesque scale. A bit disappointing then to get back to chaps thumping each other, but the choreography’s decent enough. And if this lands idiosyncratic director Montiel a better script next time, it will all have been worth it.

By: Trevor Johnston


Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday May 15 2009
Duration: 105 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Dito Montiel
Screenwriter: Dito Montiel, Robert Munic
Cast: Channing Tatum
Luis Guzman
Terrence Howard
Zulay Henao
Michael Rivera
Flaco Navaja
Peter Tambakis
Roger Guenveur Smith
Anthony DeSando

Average User Rating

3.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:1
  • 3 star:1
  • 2 star:1
  • 1 star:0
1 person listening

I loved it. You could see through the plot, but it didn't matter. The acting was great and the fight scenes were a blast!

I loved it. You could see through the plot, but it didn't matter. The acting was great and the fight scenes were a blast!

Eyyyyy? I went to see this film last week & I thought it was brilliant..Of corse it has a story line..hes poor and then he fights and then he's righ..and he gets the girl and the mates along the way. the fights were good..especially the one he had with that Hayleyy guy and as for "better fights in corrie" HAHAHA.. well anyway i thought this film was really good and lots of the actors in it played their parts Great!!

not a good film> fights scenes are crap, no story line, i fell asleep in the cinema

worst film ive seen in a long while, there didnt seem to be a storyline at all and i was thoroughly bored after half an hour

one of the worst films iv ever seen there only 4 fights in it which you cant really see due to the camera angles absolutely shit!!! P.S. Birds not too bad tho

its true the script and direction are lazy but tatum is showcased as a fighter and the manhattan locales look good and couple of the bare knuckled interraciial brawls are thrilling -it was tolerable though not good- brian white and tatum had some interesting banter and the chinese freestyle fight was harrowing - how come tatum slept over in central park on a bench and woke up freshly shaven like a gillette ad. ,once a model always a model

Fighting, my butt. I seen better fight sequences in Coronation Street. This is a blatant rip off from a '70's film called Hard Times starring Charles Bronson. Tatum has a certain presence about him but he is let down by a weak, cliched script and a very poor performance from Howard, who is normlly very good.