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Embattled Blu-ray Review

“Embattled” is an intense drama.

In 2020’s “Embattled,” the story revolves around a father and a son. The father is a successful, wealthy MMA star (Cash) who is the farthest thing from a role model. He’s toxic, greedy, reckless, and abusive to put it mildly. His son Jett from his prior marriage is an 18 year old high schooler who is pursuing his own MMA career all while taking care of his brother Quinn who has a mental disability (whom Cash ignores). As the story unfolds, Jett remembers a horrific past incident that causes him to lash out at his father. The video of this incident leaks which eventually leads to a major MMA bout between the father and the son.

Directed by Nick Sarkisov and written by David McKenna, “Embattled” is part MMA movie and part family drama. The fights inside the ring are just as intense as the family drama outside the ring as the film explores the characters and their demons and traumas. This is in large part due to 2 dynamic performances by Stephen Dorff and Darren Mann. Dorff is having quite the career renaissance as of late after his incredible performance in “True Detective” season 3 and he is dynamite here. He owns the screen and manages to bring layers to the damaged and pathetic character of Cash. Darren Mann (who is perhaps best known for “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”) shows great promise as an actor as Jett. Not only did he carry his own here, but his scenes opposite Dorff were electric. 

One can argue the movie ventures into absurdity in the final act with the father-son fight. Perhaps McKenna is poking fun at the circus that some fighting events have become which is entirely valid. At the same time, it doesn’t quite fit with the rather serious tone and drama that make up the rest of the movie. Regardless, it doesn’t affect the movie all that much as the ending is still strong.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.40:1 1080p. Grade:  B+

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD MA. Grade: B+

Extras include IFC trailers (including one for “Embattled”) and a making of featurette.

June 6, 2021 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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