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fighting [Rating: 3.5/5] The fight scenes in “Fighting” are quick and messy.   They spill through rooms, through walls even, the “ring” made up simply of spectators shouting and betting – and occasionally getting involved.   There are no slow mo shots, no roundhouse kicks (ok, maybe one,) and not even much sweat or blood.   It’s all over too fast.

Channing Tatum plays a guy with a talent for fighting; mostly, he’s good at taking a beating and getting back up.  He has no belts of any color, no secret history in a monastery in lands of snow and mystery, no Miyagi uttering pithy sayings and one-liners on the side.   Neither do any of his opponents; in fact, “Fighting” rarely bothers to tell us anything about his opponents.   They’re just guys who fight.   And in most cases, they’re quicker, stronger or nastier than he is.   But they aren’t tougher, so he wins.

Despite its subject matter, and its title, and the fact that the only people who are likely to bother seeing it are fans of WWE and Tekken,  “Fighting” isn’t super-violent.   It’s not stylized, either.   It’s quick and messy, direct and no-nonsense.   Nothing happens here that seems unlikely – except perhaps the Tatum’s ability to win fights and then hang out at clubs and hit on girls hours later.   “Fighting” isn’t interested in wish fulfillment or cartoon fantasies; as such, it breathes life into an overly conventional genre, and comes away as one of the very few fight movies that we won’t be watching ironically in ten years.

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