Making choices and the consequences those choices can hold drive the story of an underdog in this mixed martial arts drama.
Remo Street tries hard each day to look for a job to support his young daughter and recovering addict mother. He is also quite a fighter who one night grabs the attention of local MMA coach Oz after stopping an altercation at his favorite corner store. Street is given a chance to train with Oz, but refuses as he admits he is looking for work. Oz offers him a job at his gym where aside from cleaning, he will be able to train for free, which Street accepts.
However, upon entering, Street is constantly hounded by Greg, a MMA fighter who was once Oz’s prize fighter until he was thrashed by champion Donan Manta. Things get worse when it is revealed that the person Street had beaten up in the corner store is the brother of Uri, the head of the Russian Mafia. Uri forces Street to fight for him in underground fights at night or he will harm his family. During the day, Street works the gym while at night, he is forced to fight until Uri seeks fit. What will happen when these two worlds collide and how will it affect the young fighter?
The Miami Herald quotes the film as “Rocky meets Bloodsport”, and while it does have a sense of the former, there isn’t really a trace of Bloodsport. The film instead is the story of an underdog who is forced to put himself in some situations as he longs to make things right for his family and for himself. Rebecca Lombardi’s script really brings the heart of the film in the protagonist, who must overcome all odds in order to make himself and his family stronger.
Many will think of lead actor Beau Casper Smart as the backup dancer who had a relationship with Jennifer Lopez for some time. However, he pulls it off quite well as the titular character. At first look, one may not feel any sympathy for Street with his sporting corn rows. However, he is just someone who just wants to do the right thing. Street is the focus of the film as his heroic attempt to stop an altercation forces him to do something he doesn’t want to do. In addition, upon his new job, he finds himself under constant hazing from the gym’s resident fighter, who we see in the opening credits getting his butt kicked by the MMA champion, played by former UFC fighter Uriah Hall.
The supporting cast does pretty well, notably Shashawnee Hall as the coach who sees potential in Street and Gregory Fawcett as Greg’s father, who spent eighteen months in prison and released only to find himself still in debt with the same Russian mob that Street finds himself fighting for in the underground fights. Mark Ryan does okay as Russian mob boss Uri while Alex Pettyfer-lookalike Anton Narinsky’s Anatoly tends to be the annoying little brother of Uri, whose altercation with Street causes the mess to begin with. Kate Miner offers decent support as Jasmine, Greg’s sister who becomes Street’s love interest. She isn’t a damsel in distress, but someone who believes in family and does what she can to bring everyone together as a family.
The fight scenes, coordinated by veteran stuntman Arnold Chon and Shawn Piccinino, are not bad, but at times suffer from the extreme close ups and quick cuts. The fight between Smart and pro wrestler John Hennigan is somewhat too short and could have been better had it run longer and not quickly cut. However, the finale pitting Smart and Hall is how one would view a UFC fight and this, along with a few of Smart’s underground fights are not bad as Smart has used his dance background to execute some nice flying knees and nice flying kick-like moves at times to opponents but they come a little too quick at times.
Street’s action scenes may not be its strong point, but it does have a character-driven story about one man’s choices and the consequences and rewards his choices could result in, with an actually good performance by lead actor Beau Casper Smart.
WFG RATING: B-
A Skinfly Entertainment Inc. production. Director: Bradford May. Producers: Lyle Howry, Jeff Ross, and Jody Hart. Writer: Rebecca Lombardi; story by Brett Miller and Brandi Ellis. Cinematography: Michael P. May. Editing: Jeff Murphy and Rhett Nielson.
Cast: Beau Casper Smart, Kate Miner, Shashawnee Miller, John Brickner, Mark Ryan, Gregory Fawcett, Donna Rusch, Anton Narinsky, John Hennigan, Uriah Hall.