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the fight machine

Movie Reviews

[Fantasia ’22] ‘The Fight Machine’ review: Strong performances and brutal fight scenes

Punching down.

The Fight Machine is about the brutal intersection of two men who come from two very different lifestyles. Paul Harris (Greg Hovanessian) has lead a sheltered life. The son of a winery owner, money and his career are are not things he has to worry about This insulated upbringing leads to a vicious bar fight that sets him down a new path. Rob Tully (Dempsey Bryk) also has his future laid out. He is a natural gifted boxer and his father Ruben (Dempsey’s real life father Greg Bryk) and his uncle Tommy (Noah Dalton Danby) train him to hone his gift. A confrontation seems inevitable.

Unsurprisingly, the film features some brutal fight scenes. Since the plot soon leads to underground bare knuckle fighting there is a grittiness that is not always necessary in movies about boxing. These are well choreographed and shot. This is not a story about making it big and the trappings of fame. The Fight Machine is much more personal.

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This means it relies more on exposition than the premise would imply. It would be easy to turn this story into a cliché story of privilege and masculinity. There are plenty of easy outs in The Fight Machine that could make it a subpar watch. Instead, the script heads in the opposite direction. It never goes too deep into is exploration of the class or the idea of being a man. The twin story of self-discovery was a wise choice and director Andrew Thomas Hunt’s film ended up winning the audience award for best Canadian feature at the recently concluded Fantasia Film Festival.

The Fight Machine does have pacing issues, as the two parallel stories never quite gel and give things a disjointed feeling. That being said, the entire cast gives some strong performances while the fight scenes look great. The story will have no problems keeping audiences engaged and provided a great story.

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