Ultimate fighting, where almost any move (kicking, knee to the head, etc) is permitted and blood encouraged, is as brutal as it sounds. Banned in the US, the high-purse contest moved to places like Brazil and Japan, where an international cast of scary characters try to make the championship. This gory story would be unwatchable except for the remarkable hero it follows. Like the Hulk he is huge, gentle, intelligent, and introspective. He hates hurting people, but does it because he needs money, and eventually this internal conflict does him in. He rises to greatness, is pummeled and falls low, and then is redeemed. Few people would have the courage to let a film crew record them at their low points in life, but that access makes this film great. I knew nothing about this sport or its world, and found many surprises in this strong film (with a great and unexpected music score). Recommended.
Directed by John Hyams (II)
2003, 92 min.
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