Bruised Review: Mid, But Entertaining

Bruised Review: Mid, But Entertaining

Well, another day, another MMA movie. Well, not actually. Bruised, which starred Halle Berry as “Jackie Justice” came out this past week and I finally had the chance to watch it. Featuring a ex-MMA fighter hell bent on not returning to fight, Berry’s Justice finds herself having to fight for her son who recently came back into her life.

A lot of people wrote this movie off from the trailer above. To be honest, it did seem to use all the classic fighting movie tropes and offer nothing new. This was Berry’s directorial debut and, to be quite honest, I don’t think it deserved all the hate.

The movie has done well for Netflix and hit number one on their rankings, getting Berry a multi-picture deal with the streaming giant.

Bruised: The Good

It’s not very often an MMA movie attracts a big name actor/director combination. But Bruised gets just that with Halle Berry taking up both roles. Anything that Berry does will receive not only attention from her years of brand building, but money as well, in this case, Netflix. Bruised has a great production quality that we’ve all come to appreciate from Netflix productions.

The acting in the movie was well done also. Of course, it’s Halle Berry. But in addition to Berry, Adan Canto, Sheila Atim, and the rest of the cast are top notch in ability and execute the script well.

The fight scenes are also pretty well done. Aside from the punching at a distance that is obviously fake, Bruised did a good job getting the feel right. This is partly due to the crew hiring Valentina Shevchenko, Gabi Garcia, Yves Edwards, Julie Kenzie and more for the role. They are actual fighters and it’s obvious they had their input on the movie’s choreography making the production better.

For example, Gabi Garcia was presented as a boogie woman early in the movie, dismantling women in an underground MMA fighting ring. Eventually Garcia and Berry got into a fight. The ending saw Berry get Garcia to the ground with an Imanari roll and head butting her on the ground. The scene was brutal and entertaining, but more importantly, it was well done.

The Bruised, the Bad, and the Ugly

Bruised isn’t the Rocky of MMA movies, sadly. First thing’s first: the movie doesn’t take any risks. It’s quite typical in terms of tropes and risks it chooses not to take. Part of what makes a movie good is the unexpected happening. Subconsciously, a movie watcher is trying to figure out what happens in a movie as the film goes on. When you predict what’s happening next, it is kind of boring. Jackie gets torn down, built back up and redeemed.

There’s really not much to say about the movie that was bad, however. The movie doesn’t outright suck. To be quite honest, it’s just cliche and doesn’t take near enough risks. It’s just unoriginal and follows the same pattern every boxing and fighting movie has followed for years. While there are movies like Nic Cage’s Jiu Jitsu which is just a different level of risk taking that doesn’t work, Bruised falls at the other end of that spectrum.

Final Rating: 6/10

As the kids like to say, Bruised is mid and mid can get. It was a real good showing for Halle Berry’s directorial debut but as a standalone movie, it takes no chances and lacks originality. It fails to take chances but delivers some cool moments and above average choreography that was obviously thought out and took advantage of the MMA fighters that was cast for the movie.

While Bruised isn’t perfect, it’s worth a watch. Chances are you have Netflix and if you’re reading my website, you’re likely a fight fan. So why not put a couple hours into a movie when you’ve seen everything on Netflix already?

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Blaine Henry

Just your friendly neighborhood fight fan!

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