Win… Or Die Fighting.
Starring: Gary Daniels, Peter Weller, Arkie Reece, Alexandra Weaver
Director: Jonas Quastel
2012 | 100 Minutes | Not Rated
“Stand up? This ain’t stand up, this is anything goes!” – Danny G
After playing second fiddle in The Expendables, Hunt to Kill, Tekken and Game of Death I was really looking forward to seeing Gary Daniels back in a starring role with Forced to Fight.
Once a legend in the brutal world of underground fighting, Shane (Gary Daniels) is forced back into the arena to pay off his brother’s foolish debts.
Forced to Fight is a pretty by-the-book tournament fighter action movie that is only made better by the inclusion of Gary Daniels and Peter Weller. Without the two of them this would nothing more than the same movie we’ve seen dozens of times before.
Gary Daniels proves he still has it. He’s still kickin’ ass and taking names when given the chance. And he looks like he hasn’t aged a day.
Peter Weller is awesome as Danny G. He delivers every line with bravado and conviction. He’s just absolutely fantastic in a role that many actors would have phoned in.
The big problem with the characters in Forced to Fight is that the movie doesn’t quite seem to know whether it wants us to like our heroes or to despise them. At the outset Shane’s brother Scotty seems like an immature little brother needing big brother to get him out of trouble all the time. Shane is just the big bro coming to the rescue. Then the tables turn and Shane becomes the huge jerk calling his son a cry baby and Scotty is the one who seems like the well adjusted family man. Maybe this could have been done correctly but it definitely was not here.
And unfortunately the movie really starts to bog down when it gets more involved in Shane’s crumbling family life than his fighting life. He gets really angry when Danny G forces him to start throwing some fights and takes it out on his son and wife and blah, blah, blah.
The fights feel a little weak. I like my fights to feel like someone is actually getting hurt but Forced to Fight was lacking this a bit. There’s blood flying and all but it just doesn’t feel real. It all feels a little over-rehearsed.
One nice bit was the inclusion of having Shane be a strictly standup fighter having to learn the ins and outs of wrestling and jiu jitsu to become a more well rounded fighter. As an MMA fan I enjoyed this little extra bit understanding of the fight game.
For the most part Forced to Fight made for a pretty weak Gary Daniels vehicle. His character isn’t overly likable and the fights leave something to be desired. Gary Daniels completists won’t feel like they’ve wasted their time with Forced to Fight but they likely won’t be feel like they’ve witnessed a revolution in Daniels’ career.