After watching fists flying recently in Jailbreak, Kickboxer: Retaliation, Re:Born and Female Fight Club, more fictionalised pugilist punishment appeared here at 60MW Towers when A Violent Man appeared in our mailroom. Thankfully I am of course referring to the title of a movie, and not the man who stars in it, Thomas Q. Jones; a really big bugger whose intimidating stare could soil pants at 100 yards.
I must admit that I was expecting a low budget, direct to video, ‘wannabe action classic’. Whereby the filmmakers intentions fall sadly short of what was aimed for. All too many times the narrative of ‘man has to fight (literally) to save his partner, relative, bank account, soul’ has played out before me, and then been forgotten as soon as the disc was ejected.
A Violent Man (Vo Dai Hung Tan) however, has stuck in my mind since watching it almost a week ago. And while it may indeed be low budget and direct to video (at least I’m not aware of any theatrical release), writer/director Matthew Berkowitz should be proud of crafting a twisting story that kept me hooked throughout its entire running time.
When aspiring MMA fighter Ty (Thomas Q. Jones) beats the undefeated world champion in a private training session. The video footage of him doing so becomes viral and makes him an online sensation. This however, is the catalyst for a series of events that takes Ty down an increasingly crooked road involving money, sex, death, violence and regret. Each turn in the road seemingly taking him one step further towards his dream of fame and fortune. Only to be ripped away from him at the last moment and another obstacle put before him.
A Violent Man is the story of Ty Matthews (Thomas Q. Jones), an unknown Mixed Martial Arts fighter, struggling to hold his longtime relationship together and make ends meet. His whole life changes when opportunity doesn’t just knock but walks right through the door in the form of MMA champ, Marco Reign (Chuck Liddell).
A Violent Man is far more than your average fight movie.
Here you have a character, who while you initially have empathy for as the protagonist of the movie. His actions and reasoning behind them have you questioning if you should really be cheering for him. It also holds a mirror up to current day society and the obsession with ‘self’ and online celebrity status. All at the detriment of the repercussions it may have in the real world.
The entire cast was believable and drew me into their characters. And I was shocked at what happens to Denise Richards character. When the action kicks off it has a weight to it that had me caring for peoples wellbeing. Which is a lot more than can be said for many fight movies that I have watched.
It would be unfair to put A Violent Man into the category of post-pub ‘drinks with the boys’ movies that a lot of these lower budget fight films seem to fall into. It has more gravitas to it and a more fleshed out narrative that, for me at least, took the focus of the film away from the blood, sweat and tears of the fight ring, and put it firmly onto the character of Ty; a man whom I was truly invested in seeing what became of him.
I look forward to more onscreen action from Thomas Q. Jones soon.