The production website for Fight Night Legacy speaks of the short film as if it were a series, and after seeing it, I think that is applicable. What we have here is something akin to a series pilot episode, as Fight Night Legacy, while powerful and able to stand alone as a short film, also manages to set up so many characters and scenarios that you just know this is the first part of a continuing story. And if not, it should be.
The film opens with underground MMA fighter Andre (Dio Johnson) getting his a*s kicked in the caged arena. While at the hospital for his normal post-battle fix-up, Andre is informed that he has cancer, and needs to get help. Andre’s answer? He heads back to his hometown. Once there he visits with his father at his dad’s boxing gym, meets with an old flame who informs him about the child he never knew he fathered and gets in the ring with a championship boxing contender training at his father’s gym.
All the above sets up a number of questions at the short film’s end. Does Andre get cancer treatment? Does he get involved with boxing for one last swing at a title? Does he step up as a father? To the film’s credit, I actually was interested to know what those answers would be. Again, looking at this as a pilot, it sets up so much so well, and in roughly the running time of a sitcom.
Now, despite my interest in the narrative, it isn’t the most original. Athletes on the verge of dying trying to come to terms with their life is not unheard of (see The Wrestler for one example), but that’s okay because you can deliver a familiar tale if you do it well, which Fight Night Legacy does. Visually the film is gorgeous, and it plays with the color palette quite a bit to give very distinctive vibes to different scenes. The composition is also spot-on, tight when it needs to elevate the intensity and revealing when it’s time to take a step back. Tech-wise, I’ve got no complaints, except that I want to see more of the world of Fight Night Legacy.
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