Lionsgate // 2009 // 103 Minutes // Rated PG-13
Reviewed by Judge Franck Tabouring (Retired) // September 18th, 2009
No fear! All Cheer!
Bille Woodruff's Bring It On: Fight to the Finish is the fifth installment in the series of cheerleading flicks that kicked off with Bring It On back in 2000. As long as you're not allergic to permanent giggling and don't take any of this material all too seriously, you may actually find this teenage sports comedy moderately entertaining.
The central character this time around is Lina (Christina Milian, Be Cool), an energetic teenager who lives in a Latino community in Los Angeles and spends most of her time training with her cheerleading squad to prepare for the prestigious Spirit Championships.
Sadly for Lina, her plans are quickly shattered when her mother moves in with her new husband in Malibu. Leaving her beloved team behind is already hard enough, but now Lina is also forced to attend a new high school, make friends with her new stepsister Sky (Holland Roden), and learn to stand up to the mean-spirited Avery (Rachele Brooke Smith), a skilled cheer captain who thinks she's the best there is.
Bring It On: Fight to the Finish is by no means a movie I would revisit, and the reason is quite obvious: it's an overly simplistic, forgettable teenage flick stuffed with recycled material, terrible dialogue, and rather dull acting performances. Now that I got that off my chest, let me explain why I didn't entirely detest this direct-to-DVD sequel.
First of all, this is the kind of movie you pretty much know everything about before you even start watching. You know exactly what to expect, you know where the story is heading, you know its outcome, and you know you won't be seeing anything else but a bunch of girls who spend most of the time practicing their moves and engaging in verbal abuse. As long as that's the kind of entertainment you're looking for, I'm sure you'll find Fight to the Finish quite amusing.
To be honest, as a brainless flick following a group of cheerleaders going for the big prize, this fifth installment in the series is decently fast-paced. None of these scenes are necessarily memorable, but the combination of vibrant music and cheerleading sequences occasionally helps overshadow the film's desperate attempts to create interesting characters and an intriguing backstory. As ridiculous as it is, Fight to the Finish isn't boring, and that's definitely a plus.
Step away from all the cheerleading, however, and the real flaws of this film immediately start to show. The main storyline may be an inspirational one to teenage girls who enjoy watching this stuff, but overall, Lina's adventure in Malibu are not exactly compelling. Still sad about moving and pissed off at Avery for treating her like crap, Lina quickly heads out and basically creates her own cheerleading team to find inner peace and compete in the Spirit Championships. It's certainly a remarkable move, but on the screen, it all looks way too monotonous.
This is where my earlier comment about giggling comes in. The main problem of Fight to the Finish is that the plot has absolutely nothing interesting to offer besides the dance sequences. All these characters do is either jump around like crazy, giggling or throwing offensive comments at each other. Oh, and before I forget, the screenwriters really didn't have anything better to do than put "cheer" in literally every second sentence. It's hard to believe, but in one scene Avery actually calls Lina's Latino friends "illegal cheer-migrants." Enough said...
In the lead role, Christina Milian shows she has some acting talent, but sadly enough, the script never really gives her any opportunity to shine. It's obvious she knows how to dance, though, and she at least manages to bring decent energy to her character. Her co-stars, however, fail to impress, and Rachele Brooke Smith is especially terrible in the role of Lina's biggest rival. Lina's love interest in the film is played by Cody Longo, but he and Milian barely share any believable chemistry. Holland Roden is just awkward as the new stepsister.
From a technical point of view, Bring It On: Fight to the Finish impresses. The video transfer delivers the goods, and a solid picture quality provides sharp, clean images throughout. For standard definition, the film looks surprisingly good. The disc's audio transfer does the job as well, and music and dialogue are especially well balanced. No complaints here at all.
Moving on the special features, you'll first find 14 minutes worth of deleted scenes. Also included on this disc is "Practice Round," a 5-minute featurette about how the cast prepped for all the cheerleading moments, and "Backstage Pass," an informative 11-minute behind-the-scenes look at the shooting of the film. For the viewers who can't get enough of Chistina Milian, the bonus material also features "On Set with Christina Milian," a collection of short clips that show viewers how much fun the girls had making this film. Finally, you'll also find an episode of a crappy reality TV show titled The Chicas Project. I never heard of it before, but I only made it through the first 2 minutes...
Bring It On: Fight to the Finish obviously doesn't bring it as much as the film that provoked all these sequels, but then again, this is by no means a total disaster. It's silly, empty, and ridiculous for the most part, but it's not a film I would include in the list of this year's worst. Fans of the series and cheerleading flicks in general will surely like this. All others better stay away from this fight to finish.
Review content copyright © 2009 Franck Tabouring; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (Spanish)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 103 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13
* Deleted Scenes
* Official Site