Hey gang, Valkor here. I've gone through my share of indie fight films throughout my years at TOV – and let's just say most of them barely made the grade. There was one film, Down for the Count, which was pretty decent but nothing that ever came across my desk truly shined… until now. Enter "Fight to the Finish". And while it might seem a bit "familiar", it has a lot of heart and damn is it good!
“Fight to the Finish” follows the life of competitive, not professional, UFC fighter Sean McGill (Shane Warren Jones), son of professional UFC Champ Jeff McGill (James Marshall Case); Sean has just moved out of his family home, won a big fight with money that’ll help his folks, and… well, he has all his ducks in a row. Things get complicated when Melissa (Tamara Rey) abruptly enters his life – not by her own doing because she has a beast of an abusive boyfriend named Gage (Caleb Smith), who brings in all the conflict. Sean’s first confrontation with Gage ends with him being victorious. However, their second fight – right in the midst of his own house party, ends with Gage knocking him out, yet taking on a few lumps. Ultimately, both fighters don’t want things to end until either one is put in the ground. But their friends advise them to settle their score in the ring where they can not only finish things once and for all, but win a huge cash prize and a chance at going pro. Both fighters turn to former UFC fighter Silas (Sal Guerro), who has something of a spotty past according to Sean’s father. But because of his and to honor his passing, Sean goes into the competition without Silas's backing. In the end, it all comes down to Sean vs. Gage in the end all, beat all match up to see who’ll come out on top.
I mentioned in the beginning that "Fight to the Finish" seems familiar and it does because it has a taste of "The Karate Kid" about it; not so much the whole "fish out of water" deal, but more along the lines of how Daniel had to deal with overly abusive Johnny, the two butting heads whenever and end up in the big competition to settle their differences. Is that a bad thing? Not really. And I'll tell you all about it in the TOV Breakdown.
"Fight to the Finish" is totally a play-by-the-numbers type of a film, but that's not a negative because when it all comes together, it works as it's an amazing film with a lot of heart and very entertaining from beginning to the climatic end; my summary above leaves out much of the story as the film does a fine job of following along with Sean and him balancing out the highs and the lows of his life; we get to see how close he is with his family and the bro spirit he has with his best bud Billy (Dillon Olney), which thankfully isn't overly done or super sappy. Still you don't come into a film called "Fight to the Finish" for all that togetherness – you wanna watch dudes beat the snot out of each other! And thankfully the film doesn't let down in that department as there are just enough fights that make the whole experience worthwhile. The fight scenes were well choreographed and the camera keeps its distance so you get to see a lot of what's going on. And I have to say some of those hits looked pretty real. If they were real then that's some serious commitment. And if they weren't then that's a damn good makeup work! Some blows looked a little sluggish, but overall it was pretty convincing and a few times it did get intense. Finally, the acting was decent; and while I don't have any favorites, I thought everyone performed well. In the end, "Fight to the Finish" will definitely be one of my favorites this year and it's one you guys wouldn't want to miss.
I tried to think of a few negatives to toss at this film, but whatever I had comes across as too nitpicky; I'm not saying the film is perfect, but in this instance the positives outweigh the negatives. Fight to the Finish… you've survived my wrath.
Fight to the Finish is available now on DVD and digital video; and if you're looking for a feel good fight film and if you can handle indie style filmmaking, then this is one film that's definitely worth checking out. And out of TOV 5 stars, I'm giving Fight to the Finish a solid 4.