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Studio: MPI
Year: 2011
Cast: Gil Guillory, Tim Credeur, Dustin Poirier, Albert Stainback
Director: Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker
Release Date: August 6, 2012, 1:04 pm
Rating: Not Rated for (adult themes, violence)
Run Time: 01h:25m:08s

“The rules of Man suggest that man is a warrior…by nature, he is a warrior.” - Gil Guillory

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I am far from a fan of Mixed Martial Arts, but I do love a good documentary film, regardless of the subject. Good word of mouth has me thinking that this flick could be just that.

Movie Grade: B+

DVD Grade: B

I’m about as far from being a fan of Mixed Martial Arts as I am of, oh, I don’t know, electrocuting myself. Ok, so I don’t despise MMA like I do NASCAR, but, despite trying, I’ve just never been drawn to a couple of half-naked men sparring with each other for less than a minute, then rolling around on the ground for the rest of a given round. Apparently, I’m amongst the minority on the MMA front, though, as the “sport” has never been more popular than it is now, with a pay-per-view event happening nearly every weekend, with each costing Tyson- in-his-heyday prices. Fightville is the inevitable MMA documentary, focusing on the “minor leagues” of the UFC, and those making their way up through the ranks and hopefully onto one of the fight cards for these big events.

Tim Credeur is currently training a pair of Mixed Martial Arts fighters who are attempting to make a livelihood out of the sport. Albert Stainback is the older of the two fighters, having led a life of struggles and hardship, with one eye on the prize of a spot in the UFA, or another MMA league, in which he could finally make a decent living for himself. Dustin Poirier is a little younger than Albert, but clearly much stronger, skilled, and just plain more talented than the more experienced fighter. Dustin’s path to greatness seems far clearer of any obstacles than Albert’s, but this is a profession that offers no forgiveness and no mercy, where one misstep could end not only one’s career, but their life as well.

Regardless of how much you might despise a subject, Fightville is further proof that a great documentary can be made about anything if the people being chronicled are compelling. That’s certainly the case here, as both Albert and Dustin are perfect subjects for a non-fiction sports flick. Not only are both fighters likeable, but they’re also hard-nosed competitors, building a natural dichotomy between the two. This struggle makes their sparring sequences as exciting as they come, with so much on the line in the eyes of the audience, even though these aren’t the film’s high-stakes matches. Their battles are love-hate events, and, while a film like this doesn’t necessarily have to have a clear winner or loser in the end, there is one here, and therein lies the high level of Fightville’s staying power.

Ok, at one point, these guys are training to Falco’s “Rock Me, Amadeus,” which single-handedly upped the movie’s coolness factor. It’s always nice to hear refreshing music choices in films like this, when it’s all too common to hear standard “stadium rock” or other tunes that scream sports movie cliché. Another cool touch by directors Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker is the editing they use to showcase the spectacle that is Albert’s awesome ring entrance. In a clear homage to Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, Albert always exits the dressing room and comes to the ring with music from that film playing, decked out in the garb (hat included) worn by that film’s central character, Alex. While it’s easy to argue that Dustin Poirier is the real star of Fightville, it’s touches like that that keep Albert, and the rest of this documentary, compelling at all times.

MPI’s Blu-ray treatment of Fightville is a generally impressive one, starting with a 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen video presentation that looks quite good. Images are nicely detailed throughout, with well-rendered colors and natural flesh tones, and there really aren’t any glaring problems like dirt or grain. The English 2.0 PCM Lossless audio track packs a decent punch during any and all of the MMA sequences, whether they’re at a gym or in an arena. The music is quite good too, blending in very nicely with the overall mix. As far as extras go, we get 21 minutes of Deleted/Extended scenes, that are a blend of fight sequences and interview footage, all of which worth taking a look at. There’s also an eight-minute behind the scenes piece, and the trailer for Fightville.

Chuck Aliaga August 6, 2012, 1:04 pm