Embattled
Picture of Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Embattled successfully combines family and action

Mixed martial arts and the sins of father mix in director Nick Sarkisov’s Embattled from IFC films. Raised by an abusive father, Cash (Stephen Dorff) channels his aggression to become a World Champion MMA fighter. Now accustomed to wealth, admiration, and global popularity, he faces a new challenge when his second son is born with Williams Syndrome. But this time, rather than stand and fight, he runs and moves on with Jade (Karrueche Tran) and starts a new family.

While Cash continues to make his fortune in the ring, his eldest son Jett (Darren Mann), becomes the caregiver to his younger brother Quinn (Colin McKenna). When Jett decides to follow his father’s fighting footsteps and take to the fight game, he faces his past head-on, embarking on a course inevitably pitting father versus son in a battle which, no matter the outcome, neither can win.

There were many routes that screenwriter David McKenna could’ve taken with the film. When I first heard about the film, I thought the path they would go is the father’s either dies or becomes maimed in the ring, and the son steps up to avenge his dad. The script avoids these angles, and while the trailer does reveal that father & son will face each other in the film’s climax, writer avid McKenna takes on a fantastic journey to get there.

Stephen Dorff is excellent in the lead role and portrays the role of an MMA father and absent father quite well. One of the things I identified with the most was Cash’s treatment of his kids and their different personalities. 

Cash barely acknowledges Quinn while showing some affection to Jett and his younger son. For me, it was a great analogy of how fame can change a man. Dorff is also believable with his MMA skills, and I would love to see the actor in another comic book adaptation.

Primarily known for his television work, Darren Mann also deserves kudos for his work as Jett. Mann taps into the anger that Jett has towards his father. He is a great big brother to Quinn, and he even looks out for his mother. There’s also some solid supporting work from Saïd Taghmaoui, who helps Jett train for his bout against his father, as well as Donald Faison and Elizabeth Reaser as Jett’s teacher and mother, respectively.

Embattled is sure to draw comparisons to 2011’s vastly underrated Warrior as both films deal with unresolved family issues and mixed martial arts. While Embattled doesn’t reach the status that Warrior does, the film is still worth a look.

Final Grade B+

Embattled opens in select theaters today and is also available on Digital and VOD.

Movie Clappers

More to explorer

The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare mixes action and comedy

Acclaimed director Guy Ritchie continues churning content as his latest film, “The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare” from Lionsgate, hits theaters. Ritchie, along with Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson, and Arash Amel, co-writes the screenplay, which is an adaptation of Damien Lewis’ book “The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare: How Churchill’s Secret Warriors Set Europe Ablaze and Gave Birth to Modern Black Ops.”

Sunset Sasquatch is a quirky family dramedy

The Zellner brothers have created a new film named “Sasquatch Sunset,” which explores the world of Sasquatches. The film is produced by Bleeker Street and is set in North America’s misty forests. It follows the journey of a family of Sasquatches – Riley Keough, Jesse Eisenberg, Christophe Zajac-Denek, and Nathan Zellner – possibly the last of their kind. Over one year, they embark on an absurd, epic, hilarious, and ultimately poignant journey, fighting for survival as they collide with the ever-changing world. These hairy and noble giants will make you laugh, cry, and root for their survival as they adjust to the changing world.

Monkey Man swings high as a combo of action and drama

Academy Award Nominee Dev Patel leaps to the action genre for his directorial debut in “Monkey Man” from Universal Pictures. Oscar Winner Jordan Peele serves as executive producer, while Patel co-writes the screenplay with Paul Angunawela and John Collee. The film takes inspiration from the legend of Hanuman, an icon embodying strength and courage.

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

© Copyright Reviews & Dunn. All rights reserved

website designed by Red Robin Digital designers