Fighting is a 2009 action drama film directed by Dito Montiel and starring Channing Tatum, Terrence Howard, and Luis Guzmán. The film follows Shawn MacArthur (Tatum), a young man trying to make ends meet on the streets of New York City by scalping counterfeit goods. Down on his luck, Shawn crosses paths with Harvey Boarden (Howard), a fast-talking hustler who introduces Shawn to the dangerous world of underground street fighting.
Looking to make some quick cash, Shawn starts competing in bare-knuckle brawls against intimidating opponents. Despite some initial hesitation about the brutal nature of the fights, Shawn soon discovers he has a natural talent for fighting. With each match he wins, Shawn starts earning more money than he ever thought possible. However, the stakes continue to rise as the fights become more perilous.
As Shawn climbs up the ranks of New York's underground fighting circuit, he also begins a tentative romance with Zulay (Zulay Henao), a single mother who works at a waitress at one of his regular hangouts. Their relationship gives Shawn a glimpse at a life away from the violence of the fighting pits.
Meanwhile, Harvey tries to keep Shawn under his wing as his star fighter, but his motives are called into question. There is more to the street fighting world than just throwing punches as Shawn has to navigate tricky deals and the duplicitous nature of the promoters.
With his fighting skills improving, Shawn starts gaining the attention of established fighters looking to take him down. And as he continues to win matches, the crowds and cash prizes grow bigger. But the fights keep getting tougher and Shawn struggles to keep his sense of self amidst the pulverizing life of being a prizefighter.
Gritty and fast-paced, Fighting showcases impressive fight choreography and the physicality of Tatum in the leading role. The film authentically captures the seedy underbelly of New York's underground fight scene from the dilapidated warehouses where the matches take place to the violent frenzy of the spectators.
At its core, Fighting is a classic tale of an underdog fighter trying to survive and make a name for himself in an unforgiving world. Shawn has to balance his newfound success and fame as a fighter with his relationships and finding his own moral code. The line between legal and illegal quickly blurs. In the end, Shawn has to decide if he is really cut out for this visceral way of life or if he should walk away from it all.
Fighting is a 2009 action movie. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.6 and a MetaScore of 61.