I like UFC. I like funny things, and for a time in my younger years (those that revolved around Desperado) I really liked Salma Hayek. You but those things together in some fashion, in a film, and well, I think I will probably enjoy. Then, you add Kevin James, and well - enter frownville.
Now there is definitely a market for the humour of Kevin James, and I will be the first to admit that in his time of the small screen (King Of Queens) I have passed a few late night rerun laughs in his show's direction... however... his feature films (and yes I know they have for the most part been very successful) have never really entertained me. He just always seemed to be acting lines as they were written. Just saying funny doesn't make funny. Where say a comedy like Chris Farley could take silly, cheesy lines, and make them his. Then fall through something and gosh if I still don't giggle.
This time out, something changed. I found myself enjoying... dare I say... cheering... Kevin James...
So your plot. Burn out teacher, K-James, passes his time dodging his teacher responsibilities and lazily hitting on Salma. Then the loveable, student inspiring, music teacher - Henry Winkler, is told the school is shutting down the music department. K-James decides to step up and help him out. And when taking a side gig teaching peeps the knowledge they need for US citizenship don't work - he turn to MMA. Mixed martial arts. With the help of one of his foreign students... the man, the myth, the legend, Bas Rutten. If you do not know who that is Youtube his name followed by the words "Knock" and "out".
Along the way he will (you know); become a better person, make friends, learn the true meaning of life... blah blah... listen you all should know what you're in for here. Standard self redemption through extreme circumstance scenario... the question is does it work... I, Charles Bartholomew Boonsweet, say yes. Kevin James wrote this film, and he is a huge fan of the UFC/MMA world, two things that I believe really help him find the charisma with this character I have been waiting for. He sells the dick role at the beginning and the transition to the heart of gold may come a little fast, but you roll with it. And... his rise through the ranks of MMA is handled well. I mean, the man gets whomped on good. When he finally starts putting the combos together... it looked good. The man was in you know... shape-ish.
The supporting case here is a lot of fun. Henry (yes I was on that show) Winkler is a hoot, doing his best to tug your heart's funny bone... and Salma is decent. Basssss Rutten rocked. Watching him go from teaching a few moves, to a one piece spandex and bike cardio class... complete with a headset was just great.
There are plenty of UFC and MMA names in here to please the fans, and I think there is enough heart, and laughs, to win over most.
|Ok, you're right... green is the new black.|
The scene with Salma Hayek and him play wrestling and destroying a lamp... don't know why, it was stupid, and silly, but for just a moment I allowed myself to believe K-James could actually get some Salma love... I know.
Hey, listen, bottom-line... it exceeded my expectations. It was fun, fast moving, the characters were likeable - Bas Rutten needs to now be in at least 50% of the movies I watch from now on lol... and the end... well I felt that inner cheer section stand... well filmed fights too. I read a few people hating on the choreography... Does anyone remember the Rocky films? Aiiiirrrrrr punches? Well none of that here.
MMA family friendly... I think this film deserves a bigger audience as its theatre run was less than grand, I think the word of mouth will travel pretty quickly...
Movie scale 3 out of 5 stars.
Comedy scale 3.5 out of 5 stars
Hearing "Here comes the Boom" by POD like 7 times was a little much... but dammit it if the seventh time - an acoustic cover by Winkler - didn't make it awesome again ...