American Fighter (2020) Movie Review

Director: Shaun Paul Piccinino

Writer: Carl Morris, Shaun Paul Piccinino (Screenplay)

Starring: Tommy Flanagan, Sean Patrick Flanery, Christina Moore, Allison Paige, John Dubey, Anna Zielinksi, George Kosturos

Plot: A desperate teenager is forced into the dangerous world of underground fighting to win enough money to save his ailing mother. He finds out what he’s made of in the face of these violent hungry competitors.

Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Underground Rocky

Story: American Fighter starts as Ali Jahani (Kosturos) a college wrestling student whose parents are coming to America before an incident sees his father killed and his mother stuck in Iran, with no help from the embassy, Ali needs to turn to other methods, one which sees needing to make money quickly.

Ali’s best friend and roommate Ryan (Craig) introduces Ali to illegal underground fighting, under McClellen (Flanagan) who will offer him the money he needs to get his mother to America.

Thoughts on American Fighter

Characters – Ali Jahani is an Iranian that has earnt a scholarship to a US college with his wrestling skills. His parents are due to join him only for that to come crashing down around him when his father is executed and his mother is stranded in Iran, needing medical treatment. Ali must make big money quickly to get his mother other out, which sees him shining in underground fighting, until he risks too much, he will stop at nothing. Ryan is the roommate introduces Ali to the underground fighting scene, he will help get the money, but is aware of what could happen with the wrong decision. McClellen is the runner of the illegal fights, he will offer fair odds, but if he sees a chance to make big money himself, he will take advantage of anyone who gets too good in his eyes. Duke is the drunk handler, he prepares the fighters both before and after the matches, he sees Ali with potential, wanting to fight for the right reasons and offers to help him, risking his position under McClellen.

PerformancesGeorge Kosturos in the leading role is good through the film, he handles the fighting well, while bring realism to the emotional side of the film. Tommy Flanagan is great as the promotor of the fights, he always makes us feel like he is a dirty character in the world. Sean Patrick Flannery brings us the man who has lost everything, that will help someone as his own way to recover from his past.

StoryThe story here follows a college student from Iran that is waiting for his parents coming only to learn he will need to make a large amount of money, which will see him needing to turn to illegal fights to make quick money. This is meant to be based on a true story and does follow the path of someone needing that would help him through illegal fights, it shows him needing to start up against tougher opponents, risking more to make more money. It does follow the same ideas of any of the inspirational fighting movie without needing to do too much to hit home on these ideas.

BiopicThe biopic side of the film shows the difficult situation that Ali and how he will do anything, we don’t get the complete story of what happened next though.

SettingsThe film does use the settings to show us how the fights are contained within the dark buildings away from the world, next to the college setting which should be filled with hope.


Scene of the Movie – The final fight.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The romance storyline feels like we don’t need it.

Final Thoughts This is a by the book inspirational fighting movie, showing one man that will need to fight against the odds for the greater good, it is an easy watch, though it doesn’t bring anything new to the table.

Overall: Enjoyable.

Signature Entertainment presents American Fighter on Digital HD from July 20th

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