Director: Yō Moriyama
Japan. 6h 30m ish
This epic mini series was made in honour of the 50th anniversary of the iconic Manga Ashita no Joe. It closely follows the often tragic story of Junk Dog, a young fighter who has been picked up by a trainer, Gansaku Nanbu who has fallen from grace and uses the kid to fix fights to raise money to pay off his debts.
In this future era there’s a classic sci fi set up, there are two distinct classes, citizens and non citizens, Junk Dog is of the lower cast, a non citizen who fights in the outskirts of a mega city but he dreams of making it into the Megloboxing ring as a citizen to fight the number one ranked fighter, Yūri. Who, through a series of unfortunate events turns up in Junk’s ring and the two battle it out, Junk Dog gets his ass handed to him but the young kid never gives up and this intrigues Yūri, who leaves the fight but urges the “Stray Dog” to com and fight him in the big ring. This really awakens something and soon he encourages Nanbu to help him fight in Meglabox. Nanbu is pretty useless but he strikes an all or nothing bargain with the man he already owes money to, the pair arrange for a fake citizen card for Junk Dog who renames himself Joe, and they enter him into the games. Continue reading Meglobox (2018)
Director: Ryan Coogler
Starring: Michael B Jordan, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Sylvester Stallone, USA. 2h m
After the Rocky franchise boiled down to the beat up old man, Balboa (2006) reclaimed some of the old school Rocky glory once again for Stallone, who’s been going through some kind of midlife crisis pumping out the Expendables (2010)as if they are going out of fashion, and considering most of the cast can’t be taken all that serious anymore they are kinda out of fashion but they are fun, entertaining and raking in the cash, he touched base with a more violent older and chunky Rambo and now he’s back to Rocky to re live another chapter. It’s beautiful that he still has the heart and passion for this character and films but he seems to want to hold on to that hero baton rather than pass it on.
This emotive drama mirrors the arc of the original Rocky, there’s a humble boxer his mentor and the woman he adores who is his sound conscience and his rock. Having made the same base creed then plays around with these ideas, sometimes swinging a left hook and surprising us other times copying from the original. But after so many Rocky movies it’s not too difficult to predict which turn the movie is taking next, but this doesn’t mean that some scenes aren’t powerful enough for the viewers to not want to cheer this new hero on. Continue reading Creed (2015)
Director: Jeff Unay.
Starring. Joe Carman, Callie Carman, Mia Carman, Delanee Carman, Kira Carman, Norinda Reed, Clayton Hoy, Vernon Beach. USA. 1h 21m.
I have to admit that I didn’t really research this movie, and just assumed it was the Wrestler of the MMA universe, just a movie filmed in a documentary style about a fighter returning to regain some glory, but it wasn’t really until a candid scene where the protagonist Joe Carman is arguing with his father, that I realised… these people really aren’t’ acting and shit just got real!
So this awkward and insightful movie follows Joe, who allows cameras film his return to glory, the blue collar worker who breaks his promise to his family and begins his training to get back into the ring and unleash his unique brand of MMA destruction, the only problem is that Joe is 40 and is not only risking his health and life, he’s risking everything for a sport that has moved on without him. One scene sums it up, Joe is in the parking lot, turning a huge tire over and being spotted by a guy as he manhandles the rubber, “How old are you, 24? “Joe responds wistfully, “Oh I wish I was 24 again“. Continue reading The Cage Fighter (2018)
Director: John Huston . Based on Fat City by Leonard Gardner
Starring. Stacey Keach, Jeff Bridges, Susan Tyrell, USA. 1h 36m.
There’s something magical about John Huston’s Fat City. I’m not sure if it’s the relatable characters, which are more realistic than cinema usually allows, or the detailed social dissection by the masterful Huston himself. For years I had overlooked this believing it just is another poor relation to Rocky, but in fact it’s the opposite way around. I have always adored the Rocky story that eventually turned into an epic Saga which is still going 40 years later, a man with true grit and determination, rising up to great heights to live the American Dream and fighting with a true heart… Continue reading Fat City (1972)