Rob Hawk’s cheap, barely competent action movie Fight Valley is by and for Ultimate Fighting Championship fans, but they deserve better. The plot is the standard revenge scenario: After her estranged sister Tory (Chelsea Durkalec) is killed in Camden, New Jersey’s underground fighting culture, straitlaced Windsor (Susie Celek) enlists the reluctant aid of ex-fighter Jabs (recently dethroned UFC champion Miesha Tate, the picture’s best actress) to train her to avenge Tory’s death.
Any goodwill Fight Valley engenders by being an all-too-rare action movie with a female main cast gets nullified by a first-act lesbian sex scene that caters entirely to male fantasies, after which one of the women is killed to propel the plot. (A similarly explicit man-on-man scene, or even just two men kissing, would be unthinkable in this film.)
Fight Valley‘s other big name is famed Brazilian martial artist Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino in a glorified cameo as the main villain Church, though the number of fucks she gives can be gauged by the CrisCyborg.com shirt she wears during the climactic showdown. And in spite of what the poster may lead you to think, Amy Schumer is not in the movie; that’s former UFC champion Holly Holm in a cameo only slightly longer than Cyborg’s. But the Schumer resemblance is fitting, since Fight Valley is its own kind of trainwreck.
Directed by Rob Hawk
Breaking Glass Pictures
Opens July 22, Cinema Village
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 21, 2016