Fight to the Finish (2014)

fighttothefinish

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A retired fighter is forced back into the ring when things get personal in this run of the mill MMA film from filmmaker Warren Sheppard.

Sean McGill has followed in the footsteps of his father and has become a high ranking amateur fighter. However, he has decided to end his fighting days and start life anew by moving into a new place and get a new job doing landscaping. While Sean’s fighter had supported him during his days as a fighter, his mother wanted nothing to do with it and strongly shows her feelings towards him. However, a few days after moving in his new apartment, Sean’s real trouble begins.

One morning, Sean is woken up by an angry man knocking on his next door neighbor’s door. The man in question is ex-con Gage Parker, who is attempting at all costs to reunite with ex-girlfriend Melissa, a nurse who was in a very abusive relationship with Gage. When Sean attempts to stop Gage, the two fight it out and Sean seems to have the upper hand. Vowing revenge, Gage viciously assaults Sean during a housewarming party when he sees Melissa get close to him. Sean has had it with the harassment and the beatdown at his place was the final straw. Both Gage and Sean learn of an upcoming tournament called Fight Future, where they decide that will be the place they put an end to things once and for all.

There is an old saying, “you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all” and that may be true in most cases. It definitely holds mainly with the world of mixed martial arts films, yet there have some been rare occasions where things are a bit different. Here, we have somewhat of a run of the mill film that revolves around a retired fighter forced back into the ring. Of course, the antagonist in this case is a total bullying type. Yes, this has been done to death. The only difference here is that the film also revolves around the family of the protagonist, notably his parents, who have different points of view when it comes to their son fighting.

Shane Warren Jones makes a relatively good new lead in the role of tormented fighter Sean, whose conflicts are not just with our bully Gage, but that with his parents. James Marshall Case makes good in some ways as ex-fighter dad Jeff, who may see Sean as a good fighter and supports him, but feels somewhat whipped when it comes to his wife Glinda, played by Jennifer Hale. Hale plays Glinda as someone who is strongly opposed to fighting and shows it, but it comes more out of fear rather than anger.

Tamara Camille does quite well as Melissa, the girl who is tired of her bully ex but gets close to Sean. Sal Guerrero, better known as former pro wrestler Chavo Guerrero Jr., is quite interesting as Silas, a promoter of sorts who is looking for a quick buck and seems at one point to play off both sides of the equation, making it hard to tell what he wants out of it. As for Caleb Smith, he plays your basic bulking bully in ex-con Gage, who just wants to make Sean’s life a living hell, even if it means he could end up back in prison. Dillon Olney is fun to watch at times as Sean’s best friend Billy, who when training isn’t that bad of a fighter himself.

Billy Smith serves as stunt coordinator and fight choreographer. The fights that are involved are not too bad, but at times, they suffer from a common issue when editing and shooting fights. Sometimes, we are resorted to shaky cam and extreme close ups. For a good portion, the fights are not too bad. The training scenes are nicely done and the climactic fight between Sean and Gage has its merits, but seems to end somewhat abruptly, or it just has that abrupt feel to have to end quickly if that makes sense.

Fight to the Finish is not a bad MMA film, but it’s not a great one either. While some dramatic moments involve family enhances it a little, the film just seems ultimately run of the mill.

WFG RATING: C+

CalTex Films presents a 1440 Films production. Director: Warren Sheppard. Producers: Warren Sheppard, William Barrantes Jr., and Salvatore Zinnano. Writer: Warren Sheppard. Cinematography: Adam Sherer. Editing: Brandon Cano-Errecart.

Cast: Shane Warren Jones, Tamara Camille, Caleb Smith, Dillon Olney, Sal Guerrero, Jennifer Hale, James Marshall Case, Evan Hannemann.

 

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