Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Eleven Thousand Dollars is a lot of money. I don’t even have eleven dollars so eleven thousand is almost mind boggling to me. That is unless you’re trying to make a movie. Word on the street is that this is exactly what graphic artist and movie director Sean Gallimore was working with for his martial arts movie ‘Fight Ring’. Was this eleven thousand dollars well spent? Well…

Life was difficult for Dan Shanks (Gallimore). As the young man would inform us via narration, his mother died while he was young, he wasn’t close to his father and he was mercilessly picked on in school because he was tiny. The things that kept him sane were his desire to draw and eventually his love of martial arts that he picked up to keep from being bullied.

Now Dan is a reasonably successful fantasy artist, in addition to being a fourth degree black belt and due to this success he has acquired a literary agent in the stunning but conservative Gina (Debra Jans) to assist in taking his artwork to the next level.

Unfortunately, just as things were looking like they were finally going his way, Dan is hit by a personal tragedy seriously affecting his ability to draw. The only good thing about this otherwise bad situation is that it brings he and the emotionally damaged Gina together with Dan moving into Gina’s out of the way cabin while Dan heals and figures out his next move.

Then Dan receives a fateful e-mail about an underground street fight competition followed up by a letter which contains a thousand bucks and a Chi ring which quickly binds itself to the wearer’s finger once he, or she puts it on. Financially desperate, Dan chooses to fight in this large competition with the winner pulling down a cool million, and while his girl thinks this is insane, Dan sees few options. While the fights take

place as expected with each loser giving up their ring to the victor, there is the issue of one particular fighter, Bowie (Drew Torrez) the crazed ninja. Bowie does not fight with much honor as opposed to Dan who is all about honor, a situation which will obviously lead to a vicious showdown between our lethal graphic artist and our deranged ninja with a million dollars in the balance. More or less.

I must be honest with you here my friends, but make sure read through to the end. ‘Fight Ring’ is about as amateurish as any movie you are going to see delivered to your home from your local Netflix hub. The movie was shot on digital video and director Sean Gallimore could do little to elevate the humble medium that this film was shot on with its washed out colors and jagged edges. The sound was good enough to at least hear what the characters were sayi,ng but it was still uneven in the sense that the levels of hiss varied from scene to scene, which is also common in amateur productions. The majority of the acting was stilted, the bulk of the fight scenes for the most part came off as painfully staged, most of the film appeared to be over lit, the editing was shaky at best, the colors were off from scene to scene in desperate need of some color correction and the movie was about twenty minutes too long. The only thing remotely professional about this movie were the occasional shots of Sean Gallimore’s artwork… which was impressive, Gallimore’s skill as a martial artist… which was equally impressive, and actress Debra Jans’ Victoria’s Secret Model good looks. Oh… and the oft times soaring score.

It is important that I let you know about all of the heinous crimes against cinema that Sean Gallimore’s film has committed because when I tell you that I liked his movie… a lot… it is important you recognize that the flaws in this film, of which there are too many to count, weren’t lost on me.

Why oh why oh why did I enjoy watching the movie so much? Why couldn’t I turn this thing off? Well for starters the base story is pretty damn good. The whole ring concept is a relatively original one and it is one that even has a small mystery infused within it as to who is behind this underground tournament which also kept me interested. Admittedly this also is a story that does appeal to my most base desires as a lover of action films in that it has plenty of ninja’s slitting people’s throats, plenty of fight scenes, flawed as they were, and even a touch of gratuitous nudity. As an actor Gallimore probably isn’t the second coming of Marlon Brando but he is a charismatic lead and he is way more fit than Brando ever was. And while it is true that Debra Jans also might not be the resurrection Katherine Hepburn, she looks way better in her underwear than Kate ever did. I guess. I’ve never seen Katherine Hepburn in her underwear. Though we did say earlier the majority of the fight scenes came off as staged, not all of them suffered from this because some came off as pretty good. But I suppose eleven large can only take you so far.

Then there was the end of the movie. Was it a bit out left field? Most definitely. Did I see it coming? Oh hell no. As nutty as it might’ve been I appreciated being caught off guard for a change.

The flaws in ‘Fight Ring’ are clear and unavoidable. Sean Gallimore who wrote, directed, starred and edited his movie might’ve done himself a small favor by palming off the editing duties to a detached third party who would’ve trimmed off a lot of the straying and unnecessary plot points from the film and thus made narrative a lot tighter. But that would’ve probably cost more money. Oh well. So I’ve seen some really, really terrible fight movies such as Beyond the Ring, Maximum Cage Fighting, Never Surrender and Blood of Champion just to name a few all of which had bigger budgets than this movie and all of which were way worse than this movie, at least entertainment wise. My purpose here is simply to inform you whether or not I ultimately enjoyed a movie and I’d be lying to you if I told you I didn’t like ‘Fight Ring’ and the spirit in which is was made. However I can’t say you’ll feel the same way.

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