DVD Review – Circle of Pain
I’m a pretty big movie nerd, so I figured this blog should probably take a little more of a movie bent from now on.
If you’ve seen the poster, on the right, you’ll know this straight to DVD flick is totally sold on the basis of being a starring vehicle for Kimbo Slice. It’s no shock that his screentime, along with that of most of the other UFC cover stars, amounts to little more than a glorified cameo where he squeezes in a few MFs and a couple of punches. I do love Kimbo, and some day a really talented director could come along and use his persona to make a Machete-style franchise out of him, but sadly, this is not the breakout fans of Prison Rapist Santa might have been hoping for.
The barely existent plot can be summed up thusly: Retired fighter is forced by evil promoter into one more fight, against the reigning champion, Colin ‘The Brick’ Wahle (hat-wearing homophobe, Heath Herring), who’s one more win from equalling the old guy’s undefeated streak.
The main character has all the depth of those little men you’d cut out of sheets of folded paper, but they try to give him some backstory, with a wife and kid he doesn’t see enough of – and you know he really loves them, because the endlessly aggressive metal soundtrack switches to fruity piano bits every time they show their sallow faces – and his roommate, Crippled Superman. Crippled Superman, aka Dean Cain in weightlifter gloves and a wobbly wheelchair, can barely make it through a scene without making some chip-shouldered reference to his disability. He’s clearly supposed to be both the looming emotional shadow and the comic foil, but his only real comedic value is getting tipped out of the wheelchair onto the floor like a broken turtle, which happens in three separate scenes – once while getting wasted watching a home movie of himself from back when his legs used to work. Even then, he’s only the third best crippled sidekick in the pantheon of rubbish fight movies, behind JCVD’s brother in Bloodsport, and Jacob from Lost as Hulk Hogan’s little bro Randy in No Holds Barred. Oh, and his tragic backstory is of course linked to his roomie, and an overly boisterous sparring session spinkick that caused his spine to snap just like my penis when I saw this.
All the underdog fight movie tropes are there; the grizzled old trainer with wacky cheap-o methods (while the evil opponent sweats around in a high-tech gym), enough montages to fill a shitty Youtube account, and at one point, the use of a “Finish him!” through the bars of a cage by badgirl promoter, Bai Ling.
Speaking of Bai Ling, her role is the same old thang she does in everything these days; being virtually naked for no reason at all; smoking really, really long cigarettes while seducing anyone who comes within half a mile of her exposed tits; and reading her lines with all the conviction of a dog whose eyeline accidentally fell onto a newspaper while he was chasing a bluebottle. Still, at least she wasn’t flying a kite with Jack Shepherd. Ling has a love scene with Heath Herring, which is presumably a by-product of him still trying to assert his heterosexuality over that New Year’s Eve kiss, although his shorts stay on the whole time, so it still looked a little beard-y to me. The whole movie is filled with awful sex scenes too, the most Straight To DVD of all being the one between the main character and his wife, where they’re at great pains to passionately fuck each other really hard and be super into it, while using their spare hands to make sure the bedsheet doesn’t expose anything below the waist.
I won’t pick holes in the MMA choreography, because this is a movie after all, but the most realistic aspect of the actual fighting is the huge Tapout banners and logos that are everywhere. The movie is ‘Presented by Tapout,’ so everybody is in Tapout gear, from the fighter characters and extras to Clark Kan’t (Walk). In one sparring scene, a gym guy is required to be shirtless, so there’s a Tapout shirt just hanging on the wall like a poster. The only one who escapes this is Bai Ling, who wouldn’t know what to do with a piece of clothing if you threw it at her. Seriously, I’ve seen her nipples more times than I’ve seen my own.
The UFC fighters on the DVD cover do show up eventually. Kimbo’s acting is on a par with his ability to check leg kicks, and obviously it’s way less fun to watch him pretend to beat someone up in a parking lot than it is to go online and see him do the same thing for realz. Frank Mir briefly stops whining about Brock Lesner long enough to badly act getting in a confrontation with Heath Herring, and Roger Huerta basically barks encouragement like the trainers in The Biggest Loser for a couple of scenes.
Circle of Pain is incredibly stupid on every level. Heath Herring’s character earns $10m a year, but all the fights take place in a tiny room with three rows of seating, the ending wouldn’t fly with any athletic commission (MMA nerd alert), there’s so much dreadful heartfelt rock music in every single scene, and you daren’t zip yourself back up in case you miss any pointlessly random nudity. This horrible movie can be summed up by the fact that during the big showdown, there’s one really visible sponsor that somehow keeps finding its way into shot. No, not Tapout.
Yeah, Fleshlight. The target audience for this movie is literally men who fuck rubber vaginas they’ve bought off the internet.
Circle of Pain: Grade – F