Watch Born a Champion
Born a Champion is a 2021 American sports drama film directed by Alex Ranarivelo and starring Sean Patrick Flanery, Dennis Quaid, and Currie Graham. The movie follows Mickey Kelley (Flanery), a washed-up jiu-jitsu fighter from a small town in Southern California, who gets the shot of a lifetime when he is invited to compete in a major Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournament. However, it's not just about winning for Mickey, as he aims to honor the memory of his deceased teacher, who had passed on the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to him.
One of the unique things about this movie is that it does not solely focus on the physical aspects of martial arts, instead, it highlights the spiritual and mental sides of combat sports too. The film is a tribute to the discipline and artistry of jiu-jitsu, as depicted through the journey of its protagonist, who embarks on a life-changing adventure.
Mickey, the lead character, is a devoted student of jiu-jitsu and has dedicated his life to perfecting the techniques. He competes in local tournaments, but his fights don't pay the bills. When an opportunity arises to compete in Brazil, he jumps at the chance. Despite facing formidable opponents and language barriers, Kelley is determined to win the tournament.
In Brazil, Mickey meets his friendly and welcoming hosts, who make him feel at home. Despite the language barrier, Mickey is able to bond with his host's daughter, Layla (Katrina Bowden), who seems to have taken an instant liking to him. The two become close, and Layla even teaches Mickey Portuguese, which is a significant part of his journey as he has to communicate effectively with his opponents.
As the big day draws nearer, Mickey is beset by doubts and fears, but a flashback to his training days with his mentor, Durango (Currie Graham), reminds him of the values he learned both on and off the mat. Durango also plays a significant role in the movie's overarching theme - how jiu-jitsu can help people become better individuals and overcome any obstacle they may face. Durango's teachings are imbued with wisdom and integrity, and his words resonate with Mickey throughout his journey.
Dennis Quaid, who plays the role of Mason, a shady fight promoter, puts on an outstanding performance, showcasing the dark side of the martial arts world. He is a stark contrast to Mickey's honest and straightforward character, and the two represent the polar opposites of the martial arts spectrum.
The fight scenes are intense and realistic, portraying the grappling techniques of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with great accuracy. The camera work in the fight scenes is also commendable, especially during the final battle where it captures the excruciating pain, determination, fatigue, and elation that come with a hard-fought victory.
Overall, Born a Champion is a movie that will undoubtedly strike a chord with martial arts enthusiasts and sports aficionados. It is a celebration of the art, spirit, and discipline of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and how it can transform lives. The movie's pacing is slow at times, but this deliberate pace allows viewers to appreciate the nuances of the story and the depth of the characters. Born a Champion is a movie that is not to be missed.
Born a Champion is a 2021 action movie. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.8.