Posted on 4/07/11 02:20 PM
I'll admit it - I really wanted to not like this movie. I will say this - if the film was trying to present an accurate portrayal of "life in New York", it didn't accomplish that mission. The New York in this film is too bright, too violent, at times too large and at times too small. The sheer number of times, early in the film, that the characters "bump into" one another is just silly. Channing's character just happening to bump into his small town rival in a city as titanic as New York is just as unbelievable as the rivalry that drives them.
Channing Tatum turns in a pretty entertaining performance as a small-town nobody, with little education, trying to make his way in the "big city". Despite itself, this movie actually ends up a pretty good watch, if you turn off logic for a while and just enjoy the ride. Where does it fall flat? Almost every plot element feels contrived and forced. Channing's character meeting his "rival", almost by serendipity, early in the film left me completely cold. I didn't care about the back story between them because I got the sense it was silly - and it was.
Where the movie really shines, however, is in the interactions between Channing and Terrance Howard, and Channing and Zulay Henao feel very authentic, unscripted, and almost voyeristic. Peeping into the budding relationship between Shawn and Zulay was actually far more interesting than the rest of the film. Further, Terrence Howard really takes over the film as a self proclaimed "2-bit hustler" that is torn between wanting to see his protege succeed and wanting to "get that money". It's fascinating, and it's a tragedy that so much time was invested in the fights that there wasn't more time spent exploring these relationships. When the movie ends, you almost wish the movie had really started about a half hour ago and you could immerse yourself in the rest of the story. Unfortunately that portion goes unseen and we're left to wonder what kind of movie "Fighting" could have been with someone else at the helm.