Born A Champion review by Bobby Blakey
Throughout his career Sean Patrick Flanery has taken on a variety of roles across genres including Powder, SAW: The Final Chapter and so much more including the fan favorite Boondock Saints series. Now he is not only starring in the latest film Born A Champion, he wrote it as well co-starring alongside Katrina Bowden and Dennis Quaid. Could this personal film deliver the goods or will tap out before its said and done?
Born a Champion follows fighting legend Mickey Kelley who falls to superstar Blaine after a blood-soaked jujitsu match in Dubai. Years later, an online video proves that Blaine cheated, and the world demands a rematch. Can the aging underdog get back into shape in time to vanquish his foe, get revenge, and claim his prize?
I am not only a fan of Flanery as an actor but knowing his passion for marital arts made me excited to see what he was injecting into this story. This is clearly a passion project that was so much more than I thought we were getting in the best way possible. The story is familiar while still being original in the focus on the world of MMA and more focused on jujitsu. Getting a film that is more grounded on the art as opposed to just being about the fighting was so refreshing. Make no mistake I love a great action film, but my love for traditional martial arts is part of my life.
For anyone in the martial arts you know that it is a part of your life and here it plays an important role in not only his fighting, but dealing with the ups and downs in his life. The familiar tropes hit home more powerfully for the true martial artist out there that knows these lessons and I felt the film came off like a love letter to them as well as expression of respect to the art from Flanery himself.
Bowden is great here and has great chemistry with Flanery that is important for this film to drive it home. Quaid isn’t in the film as much as I had hoped, but it is an important role that offers up more than you might expect in his brief time on screen. This film is perfectly wrapped up with a great video in the credits with Flanery and his real life son training jujitsu that fully encompasses what this film was truly about and I hope the film finds the audience it deserves.
Check out Born A Champion available now On Demand and then on Blu-ray and DVD on January 26th from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.