Like most action films, we’re really only interested in the fighting and there’s a lot of it. Like professional wrestling, the story only exists to draw our loyalties/sympathies to the main characters and grow our hatred to the villains. For the most part, it works. Danny Trejo knows how to be the bad guy and keeps an even evil keel…never going over the top. Martin Kove also honed his disapproving Karate Kid father image. Unlike his previous character, he finds redemption.
But we’re here for the action and for the most part it’s pretty good. Clearly, it’s all staged fighting and exists early on to establish the fighting skills of all the lead characters. We are also building to the ultimate death fight at the end and the build-up is done well. We’re invested in the characters’ stories and arcs. Good twists and turns are there to torture our hero to his limits before the final boss battle. I’d liken it to a ballet of blood.
“Good twists and turns are there to torture our hero to his limits before the final boss battle.“
Let’s also be real, the acting in Bare Knuckle Brawler is not the greatest and I get that. These are fighters. They trained to be fighters and there’s just not enough time to enroll in the Meisner Technique for actors. The story itself can get pretty sappy, obviously tugging our heartstrings. Of course, the brother with the loving wife and kids is the one who has to die. Yes, dad is disappointed his favorite son died. Yes, he’s going to stand behind the only one he has left. Personally, I watch a lot of wrestling and yet, I’m never bothered by these types of WWE/Lifetime stories.
If there’s one thing that needed improvement, it’s the editing. Quicker cuts, especially during “story” moments would help improve the pacing and along with some of the shortcomings in acting. There are also a few minor editing glitches in the fights, that are noticeable.
To coin a phrase, Bare Knuckle Brawler is what it is. It’s a fight film taken to the extreme with life and death as its prize. Characters are thrown down a deep pit of despair in hopes of rising in victory. It’s far from a perfect film, but it is a fun one. So before you head out to see that big studio action film no one cares about, how about stay home and check out Bare Knuckle Brawler instead. #SupportIndieFilms