When I first saw there was going to be a MMA movie with Halle Berry as the lead – I can’t say that I wasn’t hesitant about the film. Sure, Berry is a great actress, gorgeous even – but would the bloody and hard world of MMA be something she could pull off? We’ve seen her in spy movies and other action films, but in the ring – it’s a whole different story.
Bruised isn’t like any other WMMA style movie. It’s thankfully not like Rag Doll which basically still uses the sport to not only hypersexualize the athletes but also uses unneeded nudity and sex scenes to try to make a story. This time, Bruised comes out with a punch and a story that will hook you even if you’re not a fan of the sport.
Berry plays Jackie Justice a former UFC fighter that is trying to straighten her life out again. After failing in the ring four years back, her life has become a downward spiral and she doesn’t want anything to do with her former life. From an early age, she fought to keep herself from being put in a bad position. But now, life controls where she goes – including being a pawn for her boyfriend (and manager) as well as what everyone else wants her to be. Consigned to whatever life gives her, Jackie has given up on her dreams, her future and is a shell of her former self. That is until her son unexpectantly comes back into her life – and she has a new reason to fight.
The movie is a sports movie and not something we’d normally gravitate towards. But, while the sport is what leads the story it’s the deeper story that keeps you watching and engaged. Berry, who no doubt was fit beforehand, handles the grueling workouts and fight scenes like someone who would actually be fighting in the ring. She takes the fight on at every corner, and you watch her transform from a broken woman into one that is stronger in finding herself again. This isn’t a role we would have expected to see her in but is one that she brings the grit to while making a strong story around it as well.
The movie handles a lot of heavy topics at once, from the grueling strength that is needed to be an athlete, domestic violence, rape, cycles of abuse, motherhood, healing, and a lot more. And through it all, one small actor shines – Danny Boyd Jr, who plays Jackie’s son Manny. Though silent through the majority of the film, Danny uses his expressive eyes and acting skills to let his emotions shine through.
Yes, Bruised is filled with swearing, blood, and sports – but it’s not your average sports movie. Bruises will be in select theaters and on Netflix on November 24th.
Get Your Tickets Now:
Jackie Justice (Halle Berry) is a mixed martial arts fighter who leaves the sport in disgrace. Down on her luck and simmering with rage and regret years after the fight, she’s coaxed into a brutal underground fight by her manager and boyfriend Desi (Adan Canto) and grabs the attention of a fight league promoter (Shamier Anderson) who promises Jackie a life back in the octagon. But the road to redemption becomes unexpectedly personal when Manny (Danny Boyd, Jr.) — the son she gave up as an infant — shows up at her doorstep. BRUISED marks the directorial debut of Academy Award winner Halle Berry and also stars Adriane Lenox, Sheila Atim, Valentina Shevchenko, and Stephen McKinley Henderson in a triumphant story of a fighter who reclaims her power, in and out of the ring, when everyone has counted her out.