When you look at the sports movie genre, there are very little with female leads and even fewer that focus on what it takes to get to the top. With the exception of Million Dollar Baby and a later Karate Kid movie, most movies focusing on women in sports seem to be cheer-leading based or considered more of the softer sports. But throughout the nation, there are women doing more than that and the new release by Gravitas Ventures attempts to bring a different look at the women in MMA fighting. But does it actually do it?
Issues Right from the Beginning
While I wont say that I know much about MMA (or Mixed Martial Arts) fighting, boxing or what it takes to stand in that ring. What I can tell you, I do know what its like to be a woman. And within the first five minutes of Rag Doll, I was rolling my eyes and looking up who the director was. That director – Bailey Kobe was a man and there were several indicators of this in the first few minutes as well as throughout the whole movie.
Any woman with any ample chest size would never run without a bra, much less work out without a shirt on an all. The angles of the shot are from behind, but the mirror purposely set to show a (blurred) reflection of a topless woman with a weight bar. This unrealistic look at how women would actually work out is not something that would be put in a movie by a woman, and makes you question where this movie is going. If, there is evidence that that this is part of the character’s journey or it helps push the story along – that would be different – but instead it is used to catch attention in the very first few minutes of the film and fails.
Forced Story and Dialogue
Once you get past the very weird entrance the story of Nora isn’t one that grabs you. The movie has a run time of an 1 hour and 45 minutes, that starts out slow and continues to be slow. With conversations that seem to be slow and very staged – the interactions leave a lot to be desired.
Viewers follow Nora through helping her mother through her illness, her job and side job, fighting with a pharmacist and meeting (and rejecting) a new guy. All of these interactions lead to her distractions in her ring, and knock her off her game. Where the movie loses you is the swings in the story that don’t lead anywhere, or really impact anything. Why drop a major bomb 10 minutes from the end that doesn’t change anything (and really isn’t believable for the rest of the story?) and why does Nora have a sudden change of heart when it comes to the guy in the last scene? There are too many questions left under answered and some that just don’t add anything to the story.
Throughout the whole film, the story is very slow moving, and one that may lose the audience as they watch it. With a grainy filter overlay, I get that they are trying to make the movie seem grittier and artier but instead it gives it an appearance of it being cheaply made and not a lot of effort being put into it. Now, I don’t believe that the issues with the movie lies with the actors but with the script and the odd choices made by the directors. The story just seems to be disjointed with things coming at you out of no where – that again don’t add to the story over all. With that being said, the movie does have a limited release despite it having won awards.
Does Rag Doll give a realistic release of the world of MMA? Even with my lack of knowledge in the sport, I would say that it doesn’t. It gives a bizarre story of an unlikely underdog shot through the lens of an unrealistic script.
RAG DOLL will have a limited release starting Friday, February 21st at the Arena CineLounge in Hollywood, CA followed by a VOD release by Gravitas Ventures on Tuesday, February 25th.
About Rag Doll
A female sports drama set in the world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). Nora is that girl: the one who works overtime, helps out her family by all means, and leaves little for herself. She can’t even fathom a love interest. With her one free hour a day, she takes out life’s hardships at the local mixed martial arts gym, where she is no longer who she is, if just for that hour. When complications in her real life cause it to crumble, she is lead to enter a championship tournament as a novice. But with life outside of the ring becoming harder and harder, will she even make it to the competition without succumbing to the violence in her life outside of the ring?