Hey gang, Valkor here. 2012… you're sure going by rather quickly. And I can't really say I'm upset about it because it's been a great year for TOV – traffic is picking up, reviews are rolling out like hot cakes, the new look is a huge success, and if you haven't dropped by 2D-X site, then do it now and drop in on their podcast – The Best Damn Video Game podcast to listen to yours truly sound off on some gaming shenanigans. But back to TOV reality; fighting films are a hit and miss with me and it's been awhile since I reviewed one. So let's dip into the latest indie flick to cross my path – Down for the Count, which turned out to be better than I had expected.
Down for the Count follows the exploits of Ahmad (Ahmad Rashid Al-Sulaiti), who gave up his life in the states, heads off to Thailand and wants to try and make it as a Muay Thai fighter. But his first day isn't going so hot; his friend Tien doesn't show up, he's robbed by a trannie hooker, and gets into a bar fight. With no money and no place to stay, he's out on the streets until finally Tien shows up and starts telling him things will get better. But Tien's mood changes when he learns Ahmad is completely broke. So he drops him off at a rather rustic, broken down training facility, which is different than the facilities Tien would have provided. And while he doesn't fit in right away - he says the wrong things and makes the wrong decisions, eventually Ahmad perseveres and moves up the fight ladder to battle it out with a Muay Thai Champion – a fighter he has faced once before and lost to… badly!
Down for the Count is supposedly based on real events and if that were the case and I were in the position to go back in time and tell Ahmed to simply give up and go home… I'd do so in a heartbeat. That's not to say the film was bad, just there's so much he had to overcome just to get so far and lose (spoilers).
Out of all the indie fighting films I've sat through, "Down for the Count" ranks as one of the best. There were a few moments where I almost laughed this one into the trash bin, but I stuck it out to find a solid story with action scenes that are very well choreographed. The fight scenes are a mixed bag starting from "weaksauce" to "holy shit! That looked like it really hurt", but in the end it isn't it bad and believe me I've sat through worse (Bare Knuckle comes directly to mind). The acting is hit and miss with Sulaiti performing rather well. But my favorite overall goes to Nikki Pimp whom I endearing call "Mr. Chow" because he reminds me so much of Ken Jeong's character from "The Hangover" – only more hyper; dude is just so in your face and a whole mess of fun. Too bad his screen time is mad short. PerfectView goodness goes to the only hottie in the film Ying Ismalone, who's tough but so damn adorable it hurts my bobbit… in a good way. Finally the film is heavy with Thai-speak, but I realized midway through that I didn't even need the subtitles. It kinda puts you in Ahmad's shoes, like you're right there with him as he's making his way through this strange land trying his best to get by, giving you perspective of just what he had to deal with. And that to me is pretty deep.
A lot of the punches thrown are really slow with no weight behind them. That might sound like nitpicking but you see better fake blows in a WWE match. There's no suspenseful buildup and while the ending isn't as predictable as you might think, it still doesn't leave an impact.
Ahmad gets beaten… a lot!
Soon after Ahmad is robbed by the trannie, he makes a call to his friend Tien; what's funny is that you hear the operator say "the number you have reached is unlisted" or something like that, but Ahmad speaks into the phone as if it were an answering machine. That actually would make for a pretty lulzy answering machine message. I might have to try that out one day.
Down for the Count is available now and while it's full of imperfections, the film has a solid story, decent fights that's quite entertaining and definitely worth checking out. So out of TOV 5 stars, I'm giving Down for the Count a 3.5.