Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Movie Review: "Occupation: Fighter" (2011)

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Movie"Occupation: Fighter"
Director: Andre Enzensberger
Year: 2011
Rating: NR
Running Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Chad "The Savage" George is an up and coming mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter competing in the 135 lb. weight class. This documentary follows his activities as he trains for an upcoming bout in World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC).

Director Andre Enzensberger takes a look inside the world of mixed martial arts, or MMA for short. His choice for the focus of this documentary is journeyman fighter Chad "The Savage" George, who now sports a 16-8 professional record, but at the time of the filming of this movie, he had a not much more impressive 11-5 record. When this documentary was being shot, George was competing in the 135 lb. bantamweight division of World Extreme Cagefighting, or WEC. The WEC was owned by then UFC parent company Zuffa, LLC., and specialized in showcasing fighters 155 lbs. and below before the entire moniker was absorbed into the UFC in January 2011.

BigJ has been a fan of mixed martial arts since UFC 1 aired all the way back in 1993 when it was no-rules-no-holds-barred, and we have attended numerous live WEC and other MMA events together in the last 11 years. Even as big fans of the sport, we had trouble keeping engaged with "Occupation: Fighter." This documentary doesn't really offer any new information or insight into the sport beyond what anyone can already see every week on the UFC's reality television show "The Ultimate Fighter," or even on UFC's Fight Week. Fighters train day in and day out. They have to diet to make weight and sweat off extra pounds, sometimes dropping up to 20 pounds in a day to make their fight weight. It is a sport where fighter pay is very top-heavy, and those in Chad George's position and skill level must find other means of support beyond just fighting. This can be a strain on family and relationships, and we watch the pressure it puts on him and his life as he pursues his dream. This means those who get into the sport must do it for the love of the competition rather than looking to get rich quick. In order to make big bucks, you have to be the top in your division, and the lower the weight class you fall into, the more talented you have to be to get noticed and make good money.

There are far better, much more interesting documentaries about MMA out there. If you are looking for one in particular, try "The Smashing Machine," and if you're looking for a better MMA fighter-specific flick, check out "Once I Was a Champion" about the late Evan Tanner.

My Rating: 5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ---%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.

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