Review: Fight Girl (2018)


Directed by: Johan Timmers | 84 minutes | action, drama | Actors: Imanuelle Grives, Aiko Beemsterboer, Bas Keijzer, Noa Farinum, Ali Ben Horsting, Hilde De Baerdemaeker, Rein Hofman, Mighty Mika, Dyon Wilkens, Adnane Atallah, Luna Becking, Dioni Jurado-Gomez, Dana Goldberg

As a result of her parents’ divorce, the life of twelve-year-old Bo (Aiko Beemsterboer) has been turned upside down. The fact that in their constant quarreling her parents forget to take the girl’s feelings into account and her brother Dani (Bas Keijzer) puts the mutual relationships under serious pressure. In fact, Bo walks around with so much pent-up anger that she is gradually becoming a danger to her environment. Her weak brother’s bullies have already suffered. A solution does not seem in sight, all the more so because her parents are increasingly reacting to each other with the upcoming custody lawsuit.

But then one day Bo sees how neighbor Joy (Noa Farinum) loses her kickboxing gloves on the street. She decides to follow the girl to an apparently abandoned factory hall. However, it appears that a real kickboxing school is housed within the stately building. Bo can’t believe her eyes. The intensity with which the other children can release their strength: that also seems to her. She’s just never fought in sports before. Is she good enough to enter the boxing ring at all? She does not like to participate for bacon and beans. She wants to become a champion. However, this requires the necessary rest and control. Can she manage, while her parents keep fighting each other out of the tent, to keep the calm and bring her club the youth championship in the Netherlands for the first time in years?

Parents who behave like children and children who have to grow up quickly due to circumstances. It is a fairly one-dimensional and not very original point of view that “Fighting Girl” keeps hiccups for a long time. It is understandable that Bo’s anger must come from somewhere. But now her parents’ cartoonish fight divorce is nothing more than an instrument to introduce her to the kickboxing world. The emotional tragedy associated with such divorces remains largely on the surface in “Fighting Girl”. This has an effect on the initially cringe-worthy voice-over and the mouth-watering dialogues. Subtlety and credibility are hard to find.

Once Bo has started her kickboxing school classes, and her parents fade into the background, “Fighting Girl” becomes a lot smoother and more convincing. With increasing aggression, both controlled and uncontrolled, the film finds a certain efficiency that was sorely missed before. This is partly because the young characters are given the space to go through their own development. The acting and the mutual chemistry of the young actors also get off the ground better. While the high “Rocky” content keeps the struggle with credibility and predictability going, the fresh enthusiasm and girl power make up for it.

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