'Fight Valley': Film Review
Rob Hawk's B-movie actioner features a gallery of female fight stars.
Fight Valley features plenty of hot girl-on-girl action. But lest the prurient among you get the wrong idea, be advised that it's strictly — well, mostly — of the pugilistic variety. Featuring a gallery of Ultimate Fighting Championship female stars, Rob Hawk's action-packed B-movie should reasonably satisfy fight fans. Anyone else probably needn't bother, unless they're eager to see Holly Holm, the fighter who defeated the former champ, Ronda Rousey.
The film's plot wouldn't have been out of place in a 1930s melodrama. Set largely in Camden, N.J., it concerns the thirtysomething Windsor (Susie Celek), who ventures to the urban hellhole to discover what happened to her estranged younger sister Tory (Chelsea Durkalec), who died under mysterious circumstances. It turns out that Tory had been trying to make ends meet by participating in the city's underground fighting ring, located on the other side of the tracks in "Fight Valley," and her battered, lifeless body was recently found in the woods.
The fish-out-of-water Windsor enlists her sister's lover (Erin O'Brien) and friends (Cabrina Collesides, Kari J. Kramer) to help her navigate the unfriendly terrain. Along the way, she also has to fend off the occasional sexual advance.
"Have you ever been kissed by a girl?" one of them asks, to which a startled Windsor replies, "What? Ewwww."
But our heroine eventually tends to more serious matters, namely getting revenge for her sister's death. And despite a definite lack of experience, she decides to exact it in the ring, undergoing a crash training course conducted by local gym owner and former fighter Jabs (Miesha Tate, a UFC bantamweight champion), who manages to whip Windsor into fighting shape in no time.
It's all about as silly as it sounds, but writer-director Hawk knows how to keep genre fans happy, pouring on the raucous fight sequences accompanied by a deafening soundtrack of rock, rap and heavy metal. And while the filmmaking is crudely effective at best, it successfully showcases the physical if not the acting talents of its largely female cast including such other female fight stars as Holm, Cris Cyborg, Cindy "Battlecat" Dandois, Amanda Serrano and Serena DeJesus.
Production: Cinestyle Media Group
Distributor: Breaking Glass Pictures
Cast: Miesha Tate, Cris Cyborg, Holly Holm, Susie Celek, Chelsea Durkalec, Erin'Brien, Cabrina Collesides
Director/screenwriter: Rob Hawk
Producers: Arthur Maurizio, Rocco Michaluk, Thomas J. Nigro, Marlene Taborda, John Thomas, Joe Tornatore, Bernie Wilson Jr.
Executive producers: Salvatore Franciosa, Susan Helfrich, Michael Repsch, Rich Wolff
Director of photography: Michael P. Lucas
Editors: Stephen Michael Giglio, Christopher Michael Jacobs
Composer: John DeSentis
Not rated, 90 minutes