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Review Die Fighting (2014): Too ambitious for it's own good!

genre: martial arts, action

Die Fighting is an interesting project since it clearly is made with a lot of heart and passion. But might be a little too ambitious for it's own good. How can that be a bad thing? 

Ambition in most cases is good but it also stands in the way of distancing yourself from whatever you are working on. In this case it results in taking everything far too seriously. The whole premise and plot is completely ridiculous and something like that needs some perspective. Would it have hurt to maybe add some comic relief? I get it. We have to take the plot seriously. But humour is one of the ways how we deal with tense situations. Here an event occurs and then everyone involved jumps on the band wagon. With no resistance at all. Highly unlikely. In fact the dramatic impact would have increased if one of the characters would have opposed the villain of the story. Who is called The Filmmaker. Someone who has set up cameras in all the right places and above all gets everyone to cooperate all the way from wherever he is hiding out. Yeah Right. 

Then the characters had to wear bracelets around their neck. Sounds familiar. Ah, I see, when they remove this, their necks are going to explode. That does add a sense of urgency and danger. But as it turns out they are just GPS trackers. Come again? You have all these cameras set up and you still need to monitor them with GPS trackers? That simply does not make any sense. And how much can one person observe? With multiple scenes and screens to follow, wouldn't you need to be a machine to see and hear all? Like I said if you think about it a lot of the premise you can't take that seriously. So why not take a lighter approach in some scenes. 

I also wondered why the actors weren't allowed to talk in their own tongue. Clearly they were French. And apart from a putain merde they did not speak French, not even in very dramatic scenes. That simply is not realistic. If someone is trying to kill you, you sure as hell is not going to stay polite and keep talking English. You would be cursing your lungs out and say the vilest things in your own tongue. It would add to the dramatic impact plus provide comic relief. Why am I discussing these things? Isn't this a martial arts movie? Shouldn't we be discussing the action scenes? Yes to all the questions. However, while I do think that plot is not always that important in a martial arts film. It should offer some emotional context. Die Fighting barely introduces us to the characters and in some scenes it is clear that the director wants us to care for them. How do I know? The use of music. Actually the soundtrack was really good. Still, it would have been nice to show a little of who is who and why we should care for them. 

Yes, yes, yes you made your point Chrichton can you move along and discuss the fight scenes. No problem. The martial arts scenes are really good. Obviously all the people involved in this film are very skilled in the arts and display some techniques that is a feast for the eyes. I have no complaints about that at all. I think most fans of the genre will agree to this. I also have to mention that the director has done something almost clever. At least if I hadn't seen so many movies that I already predicted how this film would play out. Could be that some people will be surprised. It's a nice attempt to do more with the genre. And something like that should be applauded. But then I come back to my earlier criticism. For all of this to work you have to add emotional context. You have to put in characters we can relate to. Who we can care for. 

A must watch for the fans. Although don't expect too much. I got suckered in since most reviews were raving and praising this one beyond belief. And while a lot of it is good it still is incredibly flawed in many aspects and it does diminish the enjoyment slightly. 

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