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DVD Review: A Fighting Man

We are immediately dropped into the middle of a bout in A Fighting Man. We know that the combatants are Sailor O’Connor (Dominic Purcell) and King Salomon (Izaak Smith), but over the course of the film, we learn how and why the fight came about, and why we should come to side with both of the fighting men.

Perhaps writer / director Damian Lee brings a little too much heavy-handedness to the bout, as both King, and especially O’Connor are shown repeatedly both in and outside of the ring receiving harsh blows, and eventually, the action outside of the ring becomes almost as telegraphed as that in it, (though with some fancy footwork).

A Fighting Man smacks us around and yet the finest performances in a film featuring James Caan, Louis Gossett Jr. and Kim Coates, among others, are by Canadian actress Sheila McCarthy, as Sailor’s dying mother, who wants to go back to Ireland one more time before it is too late, and, to a somewhat lesser extent, Famke Janssen, as Diane, a mysterious woman from Sailor’s past, whose role in his transformation is the final crushing blow in the film. The female representation is so strong that perhaps the film should have instead been entitled “A Fighting Woman”.

Bonus Features:      

Original Theatrical Trailer:
One element of A Fighting Man that works really well is using Sudbury as a backdrop for a boxing movie. The Big Nickel provides the ideal grayscale.

Should You Buy It?
Admirers of The sweet science may appreciate the extended corner scenes, the sleazy promoter played by Adam Beach, and the sight of a battered and bloodied Purcell giving it his all for one final fight. A Fighting Man is at the very least, worth being given a fighting chance.