For the most part, I’m a sucker for a good fight flick. I was one of those kids that grew up watching ninja and kung fu films at a young age and then progressed to Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme later on. As a result, I like to see originality in my fight films; watching the same martial arts moves over and over again is about like watching a tennis match…the monotony of it will just about kill you. Which is why FORCED TO FIGHT does not earn a very high mark from me. The film is not terrible but it doesn’t bring anything new to the table.
If you are not familiar with FORCED TO FIGHT, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of the Image Entertainment website:
Once a legend in the brutal world of illicit underground fighting, Shane Slavin decides to turn his life around, promising his wife and young son he’s fought his last battle. But when his younger brother betrays a ruthless crime boss, Shane is forced back into the arena to pay his brother’s debts and to protect his family. Now Shane must confront a gauntlet of incredibly savage, no-holds-barred fights with no rules, no mercy and just two possible outcomes: win… or die fighting.
Don’t get me wrong: FORCED TO FIGHT is well done and looks good overall. It’s shot well and the acting isn’t too bad, either. I particularly like Peter Weller in his role as the bad guy; he plays one of those jack-asses that thinks they own the world, and he plays it with gusto.
But lack of originality in the plot and the fighting keep me from actually liking this film.
As the title lets on, the plot is the typical I-have-to-fight-because-my-family-member-screwed-up type of scenario. While this isn’t necessarily an aspect that would make me walk away from a film, it certainly doesn’t win me over either. I don’t mind watching redone story concepts (that should be obvious, since I love horror so much), but I do prefer that they have something about them that is new, a single saving grace if you will. Unfortunately that is not the case here.
The lack of original fighting in FORCED TO FIGHT is what ultimately kills this one for me. All we get are recycled moves that use the same methodology: bob, weave, punch, knee-to-the-face, back away, and do it again. Granted there are some attempts at originality (liked adding the Brazilian-style fighter), but any fight-flick-fan will tell you he/she has seen that so many times before. We don’t even get a change of location; even Mortal Kombat had that going for it.
I wanted to like this film, I really did…but it is simply missing that specific spark that most fight films have. I don’t recommend this one unless you’re new to fight films or unless you just really like seeing Gary Daniels on-screen. He’s a pretty good fighter from what I can see…but the film itself lacks flair.