By Brad Wilke | December 29, 2008

Much like its main character Michael Dublin, a small-time con man played by Chad Ortis, the film RIGGED is more sizzle than steak.

Following Dublin as he tries to turn a quick buck by cheating people on the underground sports circuit, RIGGED wants to be a tale of redemption and underdog success, but it never quite lives up to its own potential.

Finding a potential meal ticket in scrappy female fighter Katherine Parker (ably played by Rebecca Neuenswander), Dublin manages to persuade her to allow him to “manage” her career. Along the way, he discovers his human side and she beats a lot of guys to a meaty pulp. Hitting all of the sports film cliches along the way, RIGGED never manages to engage the viewer in a meaningful way. Though technically competent, it doesn’t pull us into the unique world of these characters, merely settling to paint a few broad character strokes and then get on with the action.

Speaking of the action, the fight scenes are well choreographed and shot and are probably the best part of the film. It is obvious that a lot of effort went into making them as realistic as possible and it clearly shows on screen. If the same amount of time was devoted to character development, RIGGED might have been a more compelling film.

Reviewer’s Note: Recently picked up for domestic video distribution, the original title RIGGED will be changed to FIGHT NIGHT in an attempt to sell more copies (according to the film’s official website). I imagine the title change will create less of a dilemma for the big box store cineaste: “Let’s see…UFC 127, UFC 128…and, uh, something I can watch with the wife…”

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