Before he became Tapout’s top name for their mixed martial arts film catalog, Hector Echavarria takes the lead alongside some veterans in this character-driven action drama from director Art Camacho.
Eddie Castillo was once one of the best fighters on the underground circuit, until he accidentally killed his last opponent. He was sent to prison and served a seven-year sentence. He has decided to change his life once and for all when he is released. He goes to live with his younger brother David, who unbeknownst to Eddie, is making a name for himself in the underground fight circuit. However, when David’s arrogance lands him a fight against promoter Argento’s top fighter Matador, David is brutalized and ultimately killed by the bulking fighter.
Upon hearing news of his brother’s demise, Eddie decides to take matters in his own hands. Despite warnings from probation officer McGee, Eddie is determined to get back in the world he wanted out of in order to avenge his brother. With the support of former boxer turned trainer Sharkey and low-brow fight promoter and manager Lucky, Eddie is determined to not only avenge his brother by defeating Matador, but put an end to Argento’s schemes once and for all. However, as his mind is fueled with revenge, will he be able to risk it all just in the name of vengeance?
While he was one of the top Hollywood fight choreographers of the 1990’s, filmmaker Art Camacho has the tendency to bring something more to the table when he is behind the cameras as a director. While many know him for his action, Camacho also has the tendency to make a film character-driven and focus not only on action, but the story as well. Collaborating on the screenplay with Misfire helmer R. Ellis Frazier, the film’s title refers to a road of vengeance and redemption that one man must endure when he is forced back into the very world that landed him in prison.
Interestingly enough, while top billing goes out to veterans Armand Assante, James Russo, and rap artist Flavor Flav (who actually pulls it off well as the high strung Lucky), the film clearly belongs to Argentinian martial artist and actor Hector Echavarria, who plays the titular “pit fighter”, Eddie. On his quest to avenge his brother’s death, Eddie finds himself put under more situations that make him question whether he is doing the right thing, from learning that his brother’s girlfriend is pregnant to starting a relationship with someone who works for Assante’s unscrupulous promoter. A very pivotal scene involves Eddie making his confession to the local priest before the climactic finale and showing a range of emotion that clearly sees Eddie as a very conflicted soul.
Art Camacho led the fight choreography team with bringing a bit of a throwback to the 80’s American style action with haymakers and throwdowns performed. Rick Medina makes the use of his limited screen time action-wise as Eddie’s doomed brother while MMA legend Quentin “Rampage” Jackson plays the beast-like Matador, who resorts to using more brute strength. Meanwhile, Echavarria gets to unleash some decent spin kicks when needed against his opponents and the finale pitting Echavarria and Jackson brings a little bit of an emotional sense that helps end the film on a decent note.
Confessions of a Pit Fighter has the tendency to combine 80’s style fighting with a very good drive in terms of characters, led by Hector Echavarria’s “pit fighter” who goes on a road to redemption and revenge to find out where he truly belongs.
WFG RATING: B-
An Alliance Home Entertainment production. Director: Art Camacho. Producers: Todd Chamberlain, Bob Dziadkowiec, Hector Echavarria, R. Ellis Frazier, and Timothy Harron. Writers: Art Camacho and R. Ellis Frazier. Cinematography: Curtis Petersen. Editing: Chris McGuinness.
Cast: Armand Assante, James Russo, Flavor Flav, Hector Echavarria, Rick Medina, John Savage, Quentin “Rampage” Jackson, Gizelle D’Cole, Yvonne Arias, Robert Miano, Aldo Gonzalez, Richard Herd, Elya Baskin.