Lionsgate // 2005 // 99 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // November 14th, 2008
"Prepare to die!"
What happens when a retired pit-fighter's younger pit-fighter brother is killed in a pit-fight? More pit-fighting!
Meet Eddie Castillo (Hector Echavarria), an ex-convict hoping to start a new life. Unfortunately, his fiery-tempered brother has gotten himself involved in an underground pit-fighting ring. And he was doing really well, until The Matador, the most fearsome, murderous fighter around, lays the smackdown on his candy-ass and kills him to freaking death.
That gets Eddie irritated, so he goes on his personal vendetta quest, plugging himself into the pit-fighting circuit. One by one all the poseurs succumb to his giant fists of death, driving the Big Bad Guy (Armand Assante) crazy and opening the door for Eddie to start an intimate relationship with the boss's girlfriend. Eventually, Eddie and The Matador will square off and settle their score. Flavor Flav's in this too, if that makes a difference.
There's fighting and growling and trash-talking and a nipple sighting or two, but Confessions of a Pit Fighter is indistinguishable from the parade of other, mediocre straight-to-DVD revenge actioners.
The small alteration to the formula is this confession thing. Eddie is trying to balance his bloodlust with his lapsed Catholic religion, much to the encouragement of the guy played Mr. Wilhelm in Seinfeld. His hot-and-cold relationship with God figures into Eddire's conscience, and eventually had repercussions on how savage a beating he dispenses to The Matador at the end.
About those beatings: the fight scenes, too, run hot and cold and that's unfortunate because when you've got a formulaic beat'em up like this, it's the quality of the beating up that will make or break it. The choreography is fine and Echavarria and his opponents are adept at pounding the snot out of each other, but we're just not looking at anything new or different or exciting. With so many competing fighting flicks out there, starring vastly more talented and interesting pugilists, I don't see Confessions of a Pit Fighter making a name for itself with its rudimentary beatdowns.
The story is disposable -- I have no doubt you'll be able to map how this thing plays out -- and the acting is adequate -- Assante hams it up something fierce and Flavor Flav does little more than act like Flavor Flav. If you want go deeper into the effects of violence and vengeance on people, especially reformed criminals, I supposed you could, but there's a good chance you have better things to do.
The DVD is basic: a solid 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen and 5.1 Dolby Digital mix and trailers.
All in all, Confessions of a Pit Fighter isn't bad -- it's quite decent actually. But the action stuff fails to rise to the top and push the feature into fresh territory.
Not guilty, but not memorable either.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 99 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated R