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‘Haymaker’ review: A human story about love and Muay Thai

A story about connecting.

Haymaker seems like it is a take off on 1992’s The Bodyguard. Nick (writer-director Nick Sasso) is a retired Muay Thai fighter who has been hired to protect a transgender performer named Nomi (Nomi Ruiz). The two develop a relationship that leads to Nick’s return to the ring where he will risk it all. Is it love or just another job?

In order to get the real pop star feel, the movie travels around the world. Haymaker takes its cast from New York to Greece. Each location gives the movie a grand feel. Haymaker is also a story about people. The connection formed between Nick and Nomi is formulaic, which is exactly how it should be. They are two people coming together in the same way anyone else would. It is a welcome change of focus.

Muay Thai is an important part of the film. There are some great scenes in Haymaker that are obviously done with a passion for the sport. Sasso is not just showing off Muay Thai as a sport, but as art. Haymaker loses its way a bit during the second act. Once Nick gets drawn back to the ring, this understandably becomes the focus of the movie. The budding relationship with Nomi is pretty ignored at this point. Story wise, it makes sense; but it was also the most human part of the film.

Some of the best movies have gotten by with making small tweaks to a standard plot. Haymaker does not tread new ground with its premise. However, the elements of that story are a delight to watch. The script takes audiences to familiar places using characters that may seem different. But the human element shows when it comes to finding someone, everyone is the same.

Gravitas Ventures / Kamikaze Dogfight will release the action / drama film Haymaker In Theaters, On Digital and On Demand January 29. 

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