05/25/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Review: Fighting

You might expect a movie called "Fighting" to be a blunt, literal affair, and in the case of Dito Montiel s new film, you would not be wrong. Without undue fuss or grandiosity, it tells the story of Shawn MacArthur (Channing Tatum), a muscular young fellow from Birmingham, Ala., who comes to the big city and, well, fights. And the simple plot of "Fighting" seems also to belong to an old musical about a humble young man chasing big dreams on tough streets. Or, more to the point, the picture is a pugilistic cousin to the "Step Up" dance-competition franchise, which helped put Mr. Tatum's career on its upward trajectory. 2

It feels like a guided tour of the city's in-your-face underbelly, loaded with detail that only a native with an artist's eye could reveal. Some throwdowns look and feel like street brawls, choreographed to look unchoreographed: ugly, rough and thrillingly unpredictable. 1

Eventually, pieces of his back story emerge, but long before that happens, the two defining aspects of his personality are writ large: he's a nice guy with a wicked temper. 3
  1. 'Fighting' (LA Times)
  2. Movie Review | 'Fighting': Birmingham Brawler in the Big City (NY Times)
  3. Review: Fighting (Cinematical)

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