Plot: Sean (Jamie Nocher) once had it all, or so it seemed, a beautiful wife, a child, and a career as a successful mixed martial artist, but he would wind up losing it all, thanks to bad decisions and impulsive actions. Now divorced and out of the sport he loves, Sean tries to cobble his life back together and make some progress, but seems to backslide each time. He is approached with a chance to fight in an underground circuit known as the Blood Circus and he needs the cash in a bad way, so he agrees and of course, easily dispatches his first opponent. But then he learns the harsh truth of the Blood Circus, as he is required to fight to the death and if he refuses, then his opponent will do what he won’t. To defend his own life, he chokes out his opponent and is then forced to return, or else the video of the fight will be made public. Is Sean now trapped to serve in the Blood Circus or can he uncover some way out of this mess?
Entertainment Value: I do love movies about underground fight circuits, but in this case, that is just a minor aspect of the narrative. In other words, this is not an action movie littered with brutal fight scenes, but instead, more of a crime drama that has some fights involved. The story is dusty and mostly bland, but has some sparks of camp value that help elevate the material. This comes mostly from the cast involved, especially Tom Sizemore as a good cop, driven to see justice done. Sizemore as a good guy is quite a wild premise to me, so it added some humor. He actually reels in his usually over the top kind of turn, but he’s still fun to watch. I also appreciated some familiar faces from the crime movie scene, such as Vincent Pastore, Chuck Zito, and Robert LaSardo, as well as a strange, but hilarious role played by pro wrestler Kevin Nash. I loved seeing Christy Carlson Romano as well, though she has little to do here. While the movie does have some bright spots, it moves at a slow pace and relies on the drama too much, when the fights are what should have been the draw. There’s some potential here, but it’s more of a miss than a hit.
No nakedness. This one has no sleaze, despite being in seedy bars and underworld arenas, which is a little odd. A little blood, from the fights and some assorted other violence, but not much. The actual fights are passable, with some hard hitting tactics, but these scenes are infrequent. I did appreciate them when they popped in, but more focus on action could have worked wonders in this case. The dialogue is passable, but not all that memorable or over the top. I expected Sizmore to be a fountain of dysfunction and over the top moments, but as I mentioned, he is quite restrained here. Nash is fun while he is around, but again, doesn’t have the kind of punchy, campy lines I would have liked to have. No real craziness to speak of, quite the opposite actually, as the movie is content to be more grounded and dramatic.
Overall Insanity: 0/10