Hey gang, Valkor here. I’ve reviewed plenty of films for TOV, but what you may not know is that I've passed on plenty of films as well; usually it's because the film was either that bad or too artsy for me to truly understand, and thus I wouldn’t do it justice. The biggest culprits of films I've passed on are almost always horror, but indie fight films also fit into this category. Yes, I’ve reviewed some bad ones (Bare Knuckles comes to mind), but that’s because the words flew right out of me. Thankfully this next fight film, Fight Valley, made the cut. But is it worth watching? Let’s find out. Oh and there’s plenty of spoilers ahead, especially in “The Bad” section, so you’ve been warned.
“Fight Valley”, starts out with a young girl named Tori (Chelsea Durkalec), who is looking to make a break from the rough streets of Camden, NJ (represent). To help get the cash she needs, she enters these underground fights and she's pretty good at it. But while she can beat some ass, the payoff from those fights is very little. So she calls on her well-off sister Windsor (Susie Celek) for money, but she gets rejected. So she turns to a couple of shady promoters to enter a fight at “The Yard”, where she’s told she can be sure to make bank. Sadly, Tori winds up dead with no leads as to who's her killer, because the people that know anything about anything aren’t talking.
Windsor arrives in Camden to not only attend Tori’s funeral, but she looks to find her sister's killer and extract a little payback. Yet finding the answers she seeks isn't going to come easy because the world she’s about to get into, isn’t something she’s ever faced and they're not open to newcomers. Thankfully, she has help with some of Tori’s pals, which leads her to start asking questions about something called “Fight Valley". Yet, she’s nowhere near ready for the response, which is met with violence. Enter Jabs (Miesha Tate), who is a big deal in the Camden underground fight community; initially, Tori went to her to train so that she can be a better fighter. But Jabs flat-out refused. However, and for reasons unknown (at least not right away), Jabs decides to train Windsor so that she can better execute her plan of revenge. Also, Windsor has zero fighting skill and without Jabs' help, she'd probably wind up dead. After four weeks of training, Windsor is not only ready to take on whatever and whomever, but the truth about what happened to her sister is revealed. This leads her to face off against her sister’s killer in the very ring where Tori died. How it ultimately ends, well… it’s not the most satisfying ending, and it'll probably leave you scratching your head in confusion.
Here’s something fun you can do with “Fight Valley”; grab a few friends, some drinks and anytime one of the ladies makes “duck lips”, take a shot. I’m not saying they do it full-blown – it’s poutier more than anything. But by the end of the film, I will promise you, you will get fucked up.
“Fight Valley”, isn’t the worst indie fight film I’ve come across, though it’s not really the best. But its still a pretty decent flick, which if you’re a fan of UFC/MMA fighting, then you’ll enjoy it even more. The story took some time to get into it, mainly because of the opening sequence, which shows Jabs beating the living shit out of another female fighter. So, I instantly thought the film was about her (Jabs not the fighter). But as it turns out, the film is more about Windsor and her plot for revenge. Things get a bit rocky as the film flows between Windsor’s training montages and her investigation into her sister’s death. Yet, it never really derails from its main point. And in between all that, you get a crazy dosage of girl on girl action – and boy do these ladies hit hard; this is where the film shines the most because the fight scenes were well choreographed and nicely shot. And to top it off, we get an indie fight film where the punches being thrown actually look like real punches rather than someone swinging underwater. Next, the acting all-around is just so-so, with no one person taking top honors, but I did enjoy the onscreen bad assness of UFC fighter Miesha Tate, who I’d love to see more of in future action films. Finally, I can’t forget the soundtrack, which features an awesome blend of hip-hop, rock, and metal; from the moment the film starts until the end credits, the music always stays on point and it was pretty awesome! I have to admit, I went into “Fight Valley”, expecting it to be something I’d pass on, but from the moment Tate threw those opening punches and the blood started spraying, I was all in and it was totally worth the ride.
Again, the acting isn’t the greatest, and you can add pacing to the mix as well as the film did need some tighter editing to smooth things out. Also, the story is kinda choppy; again, it isn’t clear, straight away who is the main character, which is neither Jabs nor Tori. But OK, I can forgive that. But what I seriously can’t forgive is how Windsor, with her upper-class upbringing, can come into the hood, learn to fight and match blows with other women who probably have been fighting all their lives. But I gotta give the film props as she doesn’t walk away victorious, because if she did, I would have been PISSED! Finally, that ending was weak; the film had a decent build-up, but when it gets to where Windsor faces off against her sister’s killer… all is forgiven. I mean yea they throw blows and Windsor gets her ass whooped, but then Church (the name of Tori’s killer) is all apologetic about what happened. And in turn, Windsor just lets it go. There was really nothing that was said or done at that moment that should have given Church a pass. She didn’t mean to do it? She put Tori in a chokehold without letting up. Granted, you could say she got caught in the moment, but if she even had an inkling of remorse for killing Tori, she shouldn’t have fought, or better yet she should have let Windsor wail on her ass.
“Fight Valley” gets a wide release on July 22nd and it’s worth checking out, especially if you’re a fan of the UFC/MMA fights or if you’re looking for a solid beat-em-up, action film – even with my objections, it's still worth watching. So, out of TOV 5 stars, I’m giving “Fight Valley” a 3.5.