Title – Fight the Good Fight aka The Pugilist (2017)
Director – Glen Kirby (Off Piste)
Cast – Matthew Jure, Ian Beattie, Thomas Beatty, Grace Calder, Alan Calton
Plot – After his estranged eldest son is murdered by ruthless criminal Desmond Shaw (Beattie), downtrodden teacher William McCrae (Jure) sets out to not only seek revenge on Shaw but reconnect with his other estranged son Robert (Beatty).
“You’re going to be in a world of pain and there’s no way out”
Review by Eddie on 06/09/17
Telling a rather familiar family drama story in a non-formulaic fashion, British boxing tinged drama Fight the Good Fight (also known as The Pugilist) is a revenge film with a difference as Glen Kirby’s narrative focuses more on the reconnection between an estranged father and his family than the vengeance sought out for a heartless gangster.
As directed by Kirby, Fight takes its time in establishing its set up as Matthew Jure’s inwardly troubled teacher and one time boxing protégé William McCrae looks to reconnect with his gym owning son Robert and his other recently murdered son’s Charlie’s pregnant girlfriend Jessica.
Still grieving the death of his wife from cancer years previous, William is man of intelligence but also deep flaws and Jure plays his role fantastically as a man that earns our sympathy as he sets out to right his wrongs and seek out justice against Ian Beattie’s heartless criminal Desmond Shaw, who was the puppeteer behind Charlie’s murder.
It’s one of the strengths of Kirby’s film, creating realistic and relatable characters in the harsh surrounds of the world as we all know it to be, it’s an often unforgiving place but one that also rewards those that seek out redemption and William’s path to make amends for past mistakes is realistically told and often unflinchingly portrayed as he falls deeper into Shaw’s murky crime world.
Fight’s story is proficiently shot and told and all actors acquit themselves well to their various roles but where the film stumbles without falling victim to a knock-out punch is that fact that its story seems to flounder on its way to its destination and the end game that takes place feels like a bit of letdown to what’s come before it or at least been set-up for.
It’s great in one way that Kirby doesn’t take the typical corpse filled route of an everyday man taking it to the Big Bads and their generic goons but Fight’s time taken to get to its final stop has a few to many unwarranted pit stops (William’s budding friendship with one of his students prime example) that hold the story back while the final stanza does feel like a bit of a non-event in the scheme of things.
Final Say –
On paper it may seem like another generic family revenge film but Fight the Good Fight is not your typical genre entry and while it’s lacking in truly exciting or memorable moments, Kirby’s film is an often an emotionally resonate and touching family drama.
3 unplanned boxing bouts out of 5