Out of the new world of “direct to internet” film production comes Fight Circle
The fight circle is an ancient lottery where two opponents are randomly selected to fight each other. Fighters hang their family necklaces on the posts of the sacred circle. The spirit of the ancient forest randomly selects two fighters by picking two necklaces. Each necklace comes back and is found hanging by the warriors. The magic of the forest brings the fighters together in a battle that may lead to the death of one person. The story follows a young woman, Paky, as she maneuvers her way into this male-centered fight arena.
Fight Circle is a strange movie. It is set in the Middle Ages, but it is a martial arts movie. It revolves around fighting, but is completely bloodless. Of all the film’s oddities, its release stands out the most. Fight Circle, you see, is only viewable via streaming video at www.Fightcircle.com. For seven dollars, you can order 25 “tickets”, each redeemable for one chapter of the 9-chapter story (odd that it is not a number divisible by 9). The gimmick is a risky one, but one that I believe helps separate it from the droves of similar low-budget movies rotting on video-store shelves.
As a debut it is a remarkable film; with consistently top-notch editing, a good score (more than a little reminiscent of Falling Down’s), and acting that is above average for a low budget film. However, there are some serious flaws that occasionally take you out of the action. For instance, the characters were not written as well as they should have been. In particular, the character Undan never seemed to do anything but spout fortune cookie wisdom. His fighting was touted so much I would have really liked to have seen it.
Historically, the very idea of martial arts as a well-known fighting system in Feudal Europe is utterly laughable. Mullag’s constant tee-shirt tan and the seemingly dozens of beaten trails in what is supposed to be complete wilderness also distract.
In the end, Fight Circle is a movie worth watching once or twice, if only for the sheer earnestness and unpretentiousness of the production when compared to most big budget disappointments out there.