I won't say this is as good as Rocky (far cry), but I'm gonna give this one some kudos. As cheesy as the premise is, two brothers who were raised apart and just happen to end up fighting each other in the tournament of the century, this movie somewhat delivers. Let's move past the obvious reasons I watched this one:
1) It was free on Netflix, and most importantly
2) The casting of wonderful man candy.
Tom Hardy and Joel Edgerton actually made it somewhat realistic. Of course, as stated before, the two are in fantastic shape - actually moreso than some of the real guys who do MMA, but they also looked good fighting. I also really enjoyed the fact that when I googled these two guys, I found out that one is two months older than me, and one is only three years younger. I'm super pumped about my new gym membership now, apparently it's not too late.
Honestly, I would have prefered a little less character development (you'll rarely ever hear me say that) because the whole, "My childhood was screwed up, my dad's a drunk, my mom's dead, blah, blah, blah..." made this movie take a nasty turn from kick-butt to almost chick flick. Please - when making a movie that makes me want to jump up and start handing some beat downs, don't go all Debbie Downer on me the very next scene. (Example - see most recent Rambo, no 'poor me' crap in that movie, just John Rambo tuning up some peeps.) And while we're mentioning cons of the movie - can anyone tell me when Nick Nolte turned into Brian Dennehy? I'm really starting to miss the 80's...
Now if you've seen the movie, let's discuss the character names. I feel like I'm mentioning Rocky too much here, but Apollo Creed and Ivan Drago, those were great names for the antagonists. In this one we've got Koba and Mad Dog Grimes? Really? Those names are so bad the wrestlers that meet down at the community center wouldn't use them. And why do the big bad fighters always have to be Russian? That isn't really the part that I mind, but when you don't even cast a Russian to play one... i.e. Kurt Angle, who was actually from Pittsburgh (both the brother characters from Pittsburgh in this movie aren't even from the U.S.). Seems silly to me, but whatever, I'm being nit-picky at this point.
So, now for the rest of this post, I'm going to warn you - SPOILER ALERT if you haven't seen this one...
After the tournament is underway, notice the 'nice' brother (the one who's a teacher) is kickin' butt and taking names until when? Yes, the point when his old lady shows up. Hearing her shout out "Hit him, baby" over and over again would make me pray for unconciousness and a good KO. Why doesn't she just stay home anyway? Fair weather wife is what she is... wait until he has a real chance at some dough then show up to root him on. Thanks, babe. No worries though - Paulie the trainer, I mean Frank, gives him the pep talk and he pulls it out in the end.
Now we've got brother against brother. This is where I sort of lost the will to root for anyone. You've got two guys who both have characters so overdeveloped you have reasons to want each of them to win and lose. I found I didn't really care, of course Joel Edgerton is my age and that alone made a huge difference, but Tom Hardy had somewhat better abs, and well... I lost focus again. I think the ending was meant to be a little more climatic or touching or ... something, but for me it just wasn't. I didn't care the hotter one lost and couldn't pay up his friend's widow or that science teacher wasn't going to lose his house. I didn't care that they walked off together, obviously working out decades of family problems from beating the crap out of each other on pay-per-view in a matter of minutes. I was just glad there were a few instances where I gritted my teeth and made a couple air punches. That in itself made the movie worthwhile. Oh, and the muscles.