Plot: Jazz (Joe Ricci) wants to leave the past behind and start a new, better life, but he doesn’t have the resources for that kind of fresh start. In order to make some money to survive on, he participates in underground bare knuckle fights and since he is quite a bruiser, he does quite well. But never well enough to get ahead enough to make real changes in his life. Meanwhile, Gia (Michelle Palermo) is in a similar situation, unhappy with her lot in life, but unable to do much about it, especially when she has to keep tabs on her impulsive, trouble magnet of a brother, Freddie (Anthony Pavelich). When Freddie meets Jazz, the two strike up a quick bond and with Freddie’s quick talking and Jazz’ fast fists, the two begin to make some solid cash. But when Jazz meets Gia, he realizes he wants a better life, now more than ever.
Entertainment Value: This is an ambitious, earnest attempt at a hard luck, wrong side of the tracks drama. I admire the filmmakers involved, as you can tell they put a lot of effort into this movie, but in the end, it just doesn’t work that well. Come Out Fighting is by no means a bad movie, but it is quite slow and for my taste, overly serious and has little entertainment value. All the pieces are here, from the long shot romance to the con man to the conflicted brawler to the crime elements, but it just never gels and seems to drag at times. I know this is a drama, but it is just too serious at times and some lighter moments could have worked wonders. The writing is also solid and follows well worn conventions, but again, suffers from being too serious and straight, which prevents humor or even melodrama. The performances are fine, but none really resonate beyond a passable level. Joe Ricci is a beast of a man and is well cast, but some lighter touches, especially as he and Pavelich share scenes, could have made Jazz a more relatable, likable character. As I said, the movie feels a little slow and that could be due in part to the lack of tension breaking humor, but I wouldn’t say I was ever bored or checking my watch here. I like the basic premise here, but Come Out Fighting would have benefited from a little melodrama and a less serious tone.
No nakedness. The movie has a romance subplot, but there’s no real sexual content to speak of here. As the movie makes no real attempts at exploring the romance beyond the emotional connection, the lack of sleaze is never an issue. Some violence is present, as you’d expect from a movie about urban crime and bare knuckle brawls, but never feels graphic or over the top. The fight scenes are passable, but aren’t that detailed or well staged, though they do feel in the moment. It could be the DVD version I watched, but the audio seemed off in the fights, as if timing wasn’t quite right. I should say the movie is more of a drama than an action movie, so don’t expect wall to wall fights here, but there are several. The dialogue is fine, but as I mentioned, follows the usual genre tropes and is a little too serious for my tastes. But the writing is more than capable, if a little well worn, just not memorable. Some weird moments do crop up, like the seemingly Christian sect of bare knuckle fighters that appears at one point. If the movie had more of these odd little moments or even some mild comic relief, I think it would have been a lot more fun to watch.
Overall Insanity: 1/10