Posted: 04/27/2009

 

Fight Night

(2008)

by Jef Burnham



Now available on DVD from Peace Arch Home Entertainment.


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Fight Night is by no means a good movie. The concept of the film alone tells us that the filmmakers may be totally unaware of just how unoriginal the whole thing is. The concept is this: Michael Dublin, a scam artist and boxing promoter takes a powerful female fighter under his wing to make loads of cash by getting her in the underground boxing circuit, where they’ll be able to upset larger male opponents in a scam Dublin calls “fight-rigging in reverse.” This “fight-rigging in reverse” sure seems an awful lot like a ringer to me.

The acting is passable, if not good from time-to-time, but the writing is atrocious. Aside from being overtly formulaic and unacceptably slow for an action movie, the dialogue is characterized by that amateur concept that is your characters speak only in snide comebacks, the writing will sound bad ass. Here’s some examples: “If I was the last man on the planet, you’d have to wait in line.” Or “It’s a little early in the week for extortion, Richter. Try me again on Thursday.” And how about this exchange: Katherine says, “I hate you.” Dublin replies, “Take a number.” The whole movie is like that really.

One thing I give Fight Night serious credit for is that, for the most part, the photography is not noticeably digital. With the glaring exceptions of parts of the opening and closing sequences, the filmmakers do a damn respectable job of utilizing lighting and angles to their advantage in overcoming cinema’s current lack of a distinct language for digital cinematography. Many independent films shot on digital are shot as though they were on film, making the lower quality of the medium unfortunately apparent and unsettling to viewers. Here, the filmmakers overcome these obstacles admirably, and it could be a good place for filmmakers on a low budget to look for viable techniques.

Special features for Fight Night include a director’s commentary, deleted scenes and the film’s trailer.

Jef Burnham is a writer and educator living in Chicago, Illinois. While waging war on mankind from a glass booth in the parking lot of a grocery store, Jef managed to earn a degree in Film & Video from Columbia College Chicago, and is now the Editor-in-Chief of FilmMonthly.com.



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