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DVD Review

DVD cover

Circle of Pain


Starring: Kimbo Slice, Frank Mir, Roger Huerta, Heath Herring and Dean Cain
Chelsea Films
RRP: £12.99
Certificate: 15
Available 24 January 2011

Mixed Martial Arts former fighter Dalton Hunt (Tony Schiena), having retired from the sport following injuring his best friend, is blackmailed back into the sport. With only two months until the fight, Hunt trains hard to finally face the current champion in the ultimate showdown…

Circle of Pain (2010 - 1 hr, 24 min, 30 sec) is a martial arts action thriller directed by Daniel Zirilli.

I’m probably not the best person to review this film having little interest in watching grown men beat the bejesus out of each other. That said this is just one of a number of such films which has come my way. My initial trepidation was not helped as the PR blurb compares the film as a combination of Rocky and The Karate Kid. Now the idea of watching Rocky kicking some pompous kid in the head would have been amusing, shame that the actual film lives up to its title.

The story is nothing new, old champ comes out of retirement to face off the young blood. As a by-the-numbers film we have the inevitable training shots, a bit of sparing and then the main match, you’ve seen it before and probably done better.

The film also suffers, as most Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) films do, in having fighters, who may be talented in their own field, attempting to act. In this they are below par, but then most actors would suffer the same fate if they were to get into a MMA ring. Dean Cain pays a bit more of his mortgage playing the paraplegic friend.

The fight choreography is not particularly good either. There are some of these films, where even if the acting and script are dodgy, there is something to be enjoyed in fighters showing off their skills. Here the action seems overly slow, for no particular reason.

So, on the good side, the film is shot fairly well, Ling Bai does a great over-the-top turn as Victoria Rualan and there is a completely pointless soft core scene about three quarters through the film. On the down side the story is derivative, the acting is poor and the fight scenes are dull.

The disc has audio options for either 2.0 stereo or 5.1 surround sound, but neither really makes the film jump out of the screen, there are no options for subtitles, but then if you can’t hear the dialogue, you’re not missing much.

The disc does come with some extras, which kicks off with Fight Choreography on the Set (2 min, 15 sec), it’s a small throwaway piece, which looks at how the fights were staged. The rest is made up with various interviews, some with MMA fighters and the cast and crew.

There is little to recommend for an audience not already interested in MMA, and for those who are, there are better films out there.


Charles Packer

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