In this inspiring tale based on true events, 17-year-old Ali Jahani is a newcomer to a small California town, where he stands out as different in an unwelcoming community. Living with his embittered uncle, the boy faces a mountain of adversity everywhere he turns. Rejected by everyone but determined to fit in, he joins the school's floundering wrestling team. With a chance to change how others see him, Ali must step up and learn to be a hero.Written by
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment
Rare Find -- low budget, indie, feel-good movie that most works
Good acting, great story (based on actual events.) Good casting.
Intends to deliver that "feel good" buzz and mostly succeeds.
And, let us not forget, in this somewhat upside down world there are not enough of these kinds of movies being made.
On the other side of ledger, there are problems here and there with the script and the direction.
Script has what they call "false notes." Initially for example, Ali's uncle is painted as a fairly nasty character -- this for no reason I could discern -- then valuable script time is wasted trying to "rehabilitate" him in the eyes of the audience.
Same with the half-hearted attempt to make this less a sports film and more a social commentary. Also, out of nowhere, literally given less than 60 seconds of screen time, is the notion that the secret of Ali's technique is some sort of lost Perian MMA skill that goes back to Ghenghis Khan. (Caught my interest, would have liked to know more.)
Similar issues with the direction which has "odd beats." If you watch a lot of films, the timing will seem wrong to you on a subliminal level. Too much time, for example, on social issues with minimal time on the actual training. Again, if this is a sports film (and neither the writer or director seem entirely convinced) this could have been handled better.
Recommendation? Yeah, catch it if you can.
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