Thursday, 16 January 2014

Forced to Fight


Directed by: Jonas Quastel
Screenplay: Patrick Dussault, Andrew Bronstein & Jonas Quastel
Starring: Gary Daniels, Peter Weller, Arkie Reece and Alexandra Weaver

It’s forced-into-underground-tournament-fighting time once again as Gary Daniels steps into the ring to pay off the debt owed by his scuzzy brother to evil fight promoter Peter Weller. Yep, in the B-movie action world you’ve seen this scenario a million times but thanks to a great dramatic performance from Gary Daniels and an excellent supporting cast Forced to Fight is a solid little fight flick that recalls the 90s heydays when these types of flicks were a dime a dozen on video store shelves.

While there is plenty of knuckle dusting fight action, Forced to Fight arguably works better when it focuses on the drama. In a refreshing take on the underground fight set-up, Daniel’s character, who we first meet as a loving family man trying to make an honest living, gets seduced by the violent and quick money making fight life and sees his personality changing. The opposite happens to his brother (well played by Arkie Reece) who left to heal at Daniels’ home (after a major beating from Weller’s goons) and take care of the family learns to be a better person and leave his shady past behind. It’s a nice bit of role reversal and thanks to a role that allows Daniels’s to act his transformation adds a bit of grit and suspense to proceedings. In addition, his character also shows insecurities about fighting which makes for another refreshing aspect: a hero not always sure he is up to the task and whether his fight skills are as good as his opponents.

Don’t worry though, as Daniels still proves he is a badass when it comes to the fights and there are plenty of them. Still in great shape and one of the most capable screen fighters around, Daniels cuts loose in a series of brutal MMA style fight sequences which have a tough and bloody edge to them. Unfortunately, they do get a bit repetitive in style and there is an overuse of too much-close-camerawork and unnecessary flashing lights in an attempt to liven the fights up. It’s not needed and the camera should be pulled back and allow the fights to play out rather than rush through them with swirling camera movements and distracting flashing lights. But as mentioned, Daniels is still a gifted fighter and there are some impressive training scenes in the build up to the tournament.

While this is definitely Daniels’ show he’s got good support from the cast playing his family as well as acting heavyweight and all round legend, Peter Weller. Despite the often cartoon nature of his villain (and not to mention some ridiculous clothes!), Weller does menace and all-out-badassery well and seems to be having a hoot playing such a bastard.

A solid entry in the tournament fighting genre and an engaging drama thanks to Gary Daniel’s impressive performance.

No comments: