Martial Arts films are one of those genres that get a lot of passes in regards to quality. There have been so many that are just horrible, but if they showcase some great martial arts action then tend to still find a following. The latest from Lionsgate is Brawl that looks to focus more on the world of Muay Thai, but does it pack the punch needed to keep fans interested or will it get knocked out before being able to make it through the first round?
Brawl follows a former boxer, who moves to Thailand to start a new life when he is robbed and left with nothing...until he meets a skilled Muay Thai boxer, and his beautiful wife. The new friends soon enter an underground fight club called "Fighting Fish" in order to make the money they desperately need to survive, but in this dangerous world, losing is not an option. Much like a lot of these movies this one doesn’t offer too much in the way of the acting department so needs to rely on the fights to sell it. While there are some great fight moments sprinkled throughout as a whole they fall pretty short. There are two things wrong with the delivery of the action here with the first being the choreography itself. Early in the film they are trying to show that the lead isn’t a full on martial arts fighter yet, but still manages to execute techniques that only skilled fighters would know. Later in the film he is meant to be better and seems to be struggling a bit. These issues are due to part camera work and part choreography. The other issue is that they don’t always make sense or truly capture the Muay Thai nature they are trying to pass off.
This film plays exactly as the straight to video release it is and with the exception of a handful of fun fight sequences offers little else. There is an attempt to bring a bigger more emotional aspect to the story, but falls short making it feel more like it is just in the way. While far from great this film will still likely entertain hardcore fans of the martial arts genre just with the action alone so give it a shot and decide for yourself when it hits DVD on June 10th.