Over the past few decades there have been countless films telling the stories of sporting underdogs triumphing against all the odds, whether they be about football, baseball, or more notably boxing, and because of it's ever-increasing popularity there have been quite a few films focusing on mixed martial arts.
Tapped Out is one of the most recent offerings from this ever-growing genre. Released last September by Solo Media Films and directed by Allan Ungar, the film stars Cody Hackman as Michael Shaw. As a twelve year old Shaw was a promising karate fighter who witnessed the brutal murder of his parents during a car-jacking, his one abiding memory of that night being that distinctive tattoo he saw on the neck of one of the murderers.
Seven years later and Shaw's life has gone a little astray. Now living with his grandfather he's repeating his final high school year and is in almost constant trouble with the police and his teachers, but when his school principal and his grandfather come up with a way he can serve his community service hours his begins to change.
Shaw returns to the karate dojo where he used to train and meets Reggie Munroe, and even though he isn't exactly enthralled with the menial tasks Munroe gives to him he soon renews his interest in his training, as well as beginning a relationship with Munroe's niece Jen.
But when Jen takes Shaw to a small-time cage fighting show he finds discovers that the promoter's most prized fighter, Dominic Gray, is the man who killed his parents years before. Thus begins Shaw's journey for redemption as it were, as he sets out to avenge the death of his parents.
It's the kind of story that's been seen countless times before over the years, and if truth be known when I read the publicity sheet I was sent with this DVD I thought the plot sounded kind of corny, but in the end cast and crew just about pull it off.
While Hackman's performance won't go down as one of the best in the history of film he does quite well as the kid with a massive chip on his shoulder who finds solace when he returns to his old stomping ground. Michael Biehn, he of Aliens and The Terminator, seems well cast as Munroe, the somewhat grizzled former serviceman and karate instructor who takes Shaw under his wing and eventually agrees to help train Shaw for his cage fighting career.
Most fans will probably be drawn by the various figures from the MMA world that play various parts in this film. Krystof Soszynski, as Dominic Gray, is a little one-dimension, but then again his main role in this film is to kill a couple of people and to look unbeatable while beating a few others up, while Anderson Silva and Lyoto Machida play it for laughs a little when Munroe sends Shaw to them for a little ground fighting training.
Overall though Tapped Out isn't too bad. It doesn't overly tax the mind as far as the plot goes, and if you're not looking for a film with award-winning performances then this is a fun couple of hours, and that's why I'm giving this film the thumbs up.