An ex-MMA fighter looks to seek redemption in this Tubi original from the director of Deadlock.
Ten years ago, Jason Dyson was at the top of his game when he accidentally killed his opponent in the cage. The incident has caused Jason to be both estranged by his daughter and for him to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. However, he has been training contender Tre Jordan for an upcoming fight against Brock Bellenor, the current light heavyweight champion. One night, while gambling, he loses a card game to Kane, the self-proclaimed “lord of the streets” as he is the most notorious crime lord in the city.
Jason owes Kane $100,000 and Kane said if Tre throws his fight against Brock, he will settle the debt. Conflicted, Jason is forced to tell Tre what has happened. At the fight, Tre makes the decision to not throw the fight, but defeats Brock. When Kane has learned what happened, Tre is killed in front of Jason and Kane kidnaps Jason’s daughter. Jason decides to make a deal with Kane. Damon Stone, an ex-con imprisoned ten years ago after killing a robber, may be the key to Jason’s freedom and his own. However, there is a catch. Damon must train and then prepare for a gauntlet match. Five fights in a row.
This was quite a surprise of a film because it came out of nowhere. However, kudos has to go to Jared Cohn, who is making a name for himself in the world of indie action films today. His recent films include Fast and Fierce: Death Race and the recent Deadlock, starring Bruce Willis. Here, Cohn has written and directed a MMA drama that takes elements from films like the Never Back Down franchise and some of the 2010s’ Tapout-era films minus the excessive nudity that had plagued those films.
In the lead role of Jason “The Machine” Dyson, a former MMA champion on the verge of redemption is Anthony “Treach” Criss. While it may sound like the name of a MMA fighter, Gen-Z fans will want to know that is actually a 1990s hip hop icon whose group Naughty by Nature scored one of the biggest hits in 1993, “Hip Hop Hooray”. However, he has made a smooth transition to acting, even replacing Wesley Snipes for the third installment Art of War III: Betrayal (which was actually film before AoW II). Treach gets to stretch his acting muscle here as a one-time champion who’s accidentally killing has put him on a path of redemption.
The film does, however, have a supporting cast of mixed martial arts fighters. Quentin “Rampage” Jackson plays the titular “lord of the streets”, notorious crime lord Kane, who loves a good fight and yet, will put in stipulations for his own pleasure of bloodlust, if not money. Khalil Rountree Jr. plays Damon Stone, whose story is told in the opening scene of the film. A man who stopped a home invasion a decade ago, Damon was imprisoned for beating the robber to death. However, thanks to an intervention after losing parole, Damon becomes Jason’s chance at redemption and freedom. A.J. McKee plays Tre Jordan, Jason’s contender who is setting up a major fight against the champ, Brock, played by newcomer Ollie Meadows. Anderson Silva plays Kane’s right-hand man, Axel, who gets in on a fight scene against Treach while Rigan Machado plays Brock’s brother and trainer.
The fight scenes are choreographed by the duo of Cambria Hanley and Natalya Rahmann and they are pretty decent for a low-budget MMA. There are enough shots to showcase action, rather than sticking to extreme close-ups and quick cuts. However, for guys like McKee and Rountree, transitioning from the cage to film fighting seems to be iffy at times. Yet give them credit as this looks to be their first rodeo in films whereas we’ve seen Machado, Silva, and Jackson have that experience with film fighting as does Treach, whose double is renowned stuntman “Spidey” Turner. In addition, look out for a nearly unrecognizable Richard Grieco (with long hair and a massive beard) as a detective investigating Kane’s activities.
Lord of the Streets is a pretty decent low-budget MMA film that has drama, some decent fighting, and a supporting cast of real-life fighters. The film is just another step for writer-director Jared Cohn’s foray into becoming a major name in indie action films.
WFG RATING: B-
Tubi presents a Mutiny Films production. Director: Jared Cohn. Producer: Demetrius Starr. Writer: Jared Cohn. Cinematography: Marcus Friedlander. Editor: Jared Cohn.
Cast: Anthony “Treach” Criss, Quentin “Rampage” Jackson, Khalil Rountree Jr., A.J. McKee, Richard Grieco, Rigan Machado, Ollie Meadows, Anderson Silva, Chanda Am, Ashley Doris.