Moderator / Reviewer
- Apr 4, 2017
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- Yamaha TRS-5830 Atmos Receiver
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- Video Display Device
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- Draper Cineperm M1300 119 inch Static Screen
Fighting With my Family
Fighting With my Family was another one of those films that I NEVER in my wildest dreams expected to be this good. Being a big fan of The Rock and the world of professional wrestling in general (I used to be a fanatic back when I was in college, and watched the return of Hulk Hogan vs. Vince McMahon religiously) I was curious about the biopic, but kind of forgot about it until I got the press release that the film was coming out. Originally bought up by The Rock himself, Fighting With my Family is co produced via WWE Films (known for their big, dumb action films) and directed by Emmy winner Stephen Merchant (The Office, Life’s Too Short) and then fast tracked for its release, only to get a limited release in theaters and then shuffled off to home video. Again, let me reiterate, I did not expect the movie we got. Instead of an action/comedy like the trailer made it seem, Fighting With the Family is a sobering biopic about WWE Diva Paige’s rise to fame from humble roots, and the sobering realization that not everyone gets their day in the spotlight.
Paige herself is kind of a legend in the WWE despite only having participated 3 years as a Diva. Paige (born Saraya Knight) is THE youngest Diva in all of WWE history, coming onto the scene in 2014 at only 18 years old. She took the title from A.J. Lee back in 2014, only to shoot to superstardom over the next few years. Sadly Paige suffered from several traumatic neck injuries (brought on by wrestling ever since she was 13 years old) and then popped for illegal substances in 2016. Coming back in 2017 she was set to rock and roll, only to suffer ANOTHER neck injury in December of 2017 and forced to retire from active wrestling. However, Paige’s accomplishments don’t just end with being the youngest WWE Diva champion. She also championed the changeover era in the WWE, becoming a wildly stage manager for Smackdown Live, as well as judge on a WWE talent search show. To top it off, she was the spearhead back in 2015 to change the WWE women from just hot stuff side show Divas into a full on women’s division, which now has the WWE women’s fighting given the respect and popularity it deserves instead of just relegating them as eye candy.
The film starts us out with Saraya living with her family in Norwich England. Saraya’s family isn’t exactly your average family if you know what I mean. Her father Ricky (Nick Frost) and mother Julia (Lena Headey) are wrestling nuts, and run their own small town wrestling league along with Saraya, and brothers Zak (Jack Lowden). Dreaming of the WWE and glory, the two siblings get their chance when they get a call from Coach Hutch (Vince Vaughn) offering a casting call to Zak and Saraya. Arriving on scene the two go through the torture of WWE trials, only for Saraya to be the only Knight to get offered a contract for NXT (the previews to full on WWE). Excited, but scared, Saraya moves to Florida where she begins full time training for NXT, while Zak moves back to Norwich England.
The story is a bit more raw and down to earth than I expected. The rise to stardom is slow and fraught with peril, as Paige runs into one obstacle after another. The film also works as a dual story line, showing not only what happens to the ones who succeed, but also to those who DON’T succeed. While Paige is sweating and getting ready for her WWE debut, her brother Zak is having to deal with the feelings of failure and the crisis of when a dream doesn’t come true. The film goes out of its way to show that just because you don’t realize one dream, doesn’t mean your life is over. A person doing what they love is a person who is every bit as important as the superstars. A nice juxtaposition that offsets the wild success of Paige (before her career would be brought up short due to neck injuries).
The story is sweet, kind, and rather raw and “un hollywood” like if you really think about it. There were some sluggish points in the 2nd act, but once Paige got to the trails things got a lot better. The ending was enhanced for dramatic effect just a bit, as Paige was a fully established member of WWE when she took on A.J. Lee for the title instead of the first time newbie that she was made to be for the film. However, by all accounts the biopic is one of the more raw and realistic takes on the WWE superstarlet than most, and a fun movie to boot.
Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual material, language throughout, some violence and drug content (Theatrical) / Unrated (Unrated Director's Cut)
• Gag Reel
• A Family’s Passion: A Making Of – Go behind-the-scenes to see how the cast and filmmakers tell the story of this family’s passion for wrestling, their ambition for fame and success, and their undying love for one another.
• Learning the Moves – Discover how the cast, professional wrestlers and filmmakers brought the wrestling to life.
• Feature Commentary Writer/Director Stephen Merchant
• Director's Cut
Fighting With my Family truly kind of surprised me in several ones. For starters it’s not a non stock comedy/action film like the trailer made it out to be, and that it was a better film than I expected too. The story is very much a family film at heart (except with the PG-13 language), showcasing that persistence and love of family DOES pay off, and made for an entertaining watch. I was really expecting a comedy ala Read to Rumble when I first saw the trailers months ago, but the change of pace from expectations is nice and Universal does a great job with the Blu-ray. Extras are solid, and technical specs are more than appealing. Worth it is a fun watch.
Starring: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Lena Headey, Vince Vaughn, Nick Frost, Jack Lowden, Tori Ellen Ross, Florence Pugh, Jack Gouldbourne, Hannah Dodd
Directed by: Stephen Merchant
Written by: Stephen Merchant
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French (Canada) DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Runtime: 108 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: May 14th, 2019
Recommendation: Fun Watch