Let’s face it, when Hollywood gets its hooks into something “hot”, they tend to go a little overboard. And of course by “overboard” I mean they tend to completely miss the mark by putting out a movie on said hot trend that is so completely off the mark as to be shockingly retarded. Case in point: the high school-set Mixed Martial Arts-themed movie “Never Back Down”. Then there was David Mamet’s “Redbelt”, but if you’ve actually seen that movie, you’re probably the only second guy who did, with me being the other guy. The latest stab at grabbing the MMA belt is “Warrior”, from writer/director Gavin O’Connor.
Variety has a breakdown of the flick (ignore the whole studio hullabaloo in the background, that’s for the industry geeks, not us):
O’Connor had originally set “Warrior” at New Line, but the “Pride and Glory” situation soured the relationship. Lionsgate has acquired the script, a mixed-martial-arts saga about two estranged brothers on a collision course to fight in a tournament for the heavyweight championship.
O’Connor wrote the script with A.M. Tambakis and Cliff Dorfman, and the helmer will produce with his brother, Greg O’Connor. The helmer credited New Line head Toby Emmerich with being “gracious enough to let it go” to Lionsgate.
O’Connor conceived the drama as a potential trilogy, and Lionsgate will also be involved in a mixed-martial-arts tournament dubbed Sparta that will be launched in connection with the movie.
O’Connor has partnered in the 16-man grand prix tourney project with UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture, who will play himself in the film. O’Connor has begun casting “Warrior,” set to shoot January in Mexico and Pittsburgh.
You know, usually the name Randy Couture associated with a MMA movie would sound good, but after seeing his cringe-inducing performance in “The Scorpion King 2”, I have to say — Gavin, dude, don’t give him any lines. Randy Couture may be able to kick my ass with his hands tied behind his back and blindfolded, but the guy makes Keanu Reeves look like friggin’ Anthony Hopkins.
Anyhoo. A serious movie about MMA fighting with actual adults? I can dig that.