Another day, another trailer for an MMA-themed fight flick surfaces on YouTube, with the somewhat unusual stipulation that this one actually looks and sounds quite good. Not to mention living up to its name in spades! Take a glimpse at the trailer or any image released online, and its abundantly clear that the makers of “Brutal” could not have chosen a better title!
However, before you go thinking this is a Yuri Boyka-like tournament flick, the official synopsis reveals that there’s much more to “Brutal” than meets the eye:
“BRUTAL centers on Trevor (Morgan Benoit), abducted from his backyard at the age of fifteen by an unseen alien presence. Forced into nearly two decades of no-holds-barred fights against other abductees inside an unearthly mixed martial arts arena, Trevor has evolved from an innocent boy into a brutal fighting machine. Derek, (Jeff Hatch) an ambulance chasing lawyer, is the latest lab-rat abductee forced to fight Trevor. As the two men exchange ever-increasing beatings over the course of weeks and months, the brutality of their existence and the true nature of their humanity is slowly revealed. With elements of THE TWILIGHT ZONE and FIGHT CLUB, BRUTAL explores through science fiction, allegory and psychological drama, man’s violent nature and our propensity to commit unthinkable acts of violence against each other. Yet through this prism of brutality our capacity to love one another, even in the worst of circumstances is celebrated.”
As you can tell, there’s a lot at work within “Brutal” that fans won’t be privy to until seeing the whole film, but aside from its atypical premise for a martial arts flick, the major draw of the film are the people working in front and behind the camera. The film is directed by Donald Lawrence Flaherty, with fight choreography being handled by accomplished stuntmen Collin Follenweider and Chris Torres. Follenweider has worked alongside the likes of Ray Park and Johnny Yong Bosch in the film “Hellbinders”, and has performed stunt work for films such as “Avatar”, “Live Free or Die Hard”, and “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.” Torres has a massive resume of action and stunt work all his own, as well, getting his start in 1995 in “Mortal Kombat”, and later being seen in films such as “Hellbinders”, “Ultraviolet”, and “Fist of the Warrior”. You may also remember him as one of the weapons experts from the Apache vs Gladiator episode of the show “Deadliest Warrior”!
In front of the camera, Morgan Benoit makes his debut as a leading man, and it’s seriously overdue. A life-ling martial arts student, Morgan had the privilege to study at the famed Beijing Sports University and later at Shi Cha Hai sports academy, the former stomping grounds of Jet Li! Anyone who’s seen “The Forbidden Kingdom” will remember the impression he made at the fearsome bully Lupo, cheering for his downfall at the hands of the hero while wowing at his amazing martial arts skills and hoping for the chance to be able to cheer for him some day!
The word-of-mouth from those who have had a chance to see the film is phenomenal, and we’re sure to hear more buzz and info about “Brutal” when it makes its debut at the Cannes Film Festival later this month. But, of course, there’s little else the filmmakers have to do to make a convincing case that “Brutal” is a winner! With an intriguing premise, expert fight choreography, a first-time leading man with impeccable martial arts skills, and enough blood and guts to rival “The Raid” films, “Brutal” is definitely on MMA-themed flick to keep your eyes peeled for!