It’s rare to find cinematic schlock these days quite like the movies Hector Echavarria churns out. Most of the direct to DVD movies that come out are usually so bland and dull that it’s not worth the bit space on the internet. But these movies are so horribly bad and Echavarria’s ego is so outrageous that it’s just glorious. I’ve never seen such whoring of a sports entertainment medium since WWE: Big Apple Takedown; the book where WWE superstars are in fact secret agents for the CIA.
The first two movies in the series, Never Surrender and Death Warrior, are practically the same movie but uniquely shitty in their own ways. Both movies star Echavarria as an MMA supergod who somehow gets caught up in the world of illegal cage fighting. Apparently rich consortiums have nothing better to do than to kidnap UFC’s greatest stars and making them fight to the death. Ever wonder why Fedor takes so much time in between fights?
Before these movies I have never even heard of this ass clown. The only thing I could really get from his IMDb was a guest appearance on the Miami Vice TV show. So how does a guy like this get to make movie after movie which seemingly fail but continue to prop his ego? Well after an exhaustive and thorough search (of Wikipedia) he is apparently is to South America what David Hasselhoff is to Germany. He was at one time a world kickboxing champion and master of many different styles of martial arts. Many sports magazines and even NBC’s Extra called him the soon to be breakout action star of the 21st Century. His movies and TV shows (which he produces) break records down there and he also has comic strips, trading cards, action figures, and other collectibles. So remember everyone: Germans love David Hasselhoff and South Americans love Hector Echavarria. But enough of this rambling and actually dig into the latest (I dare not call it the last) entry of Echavarria MMA films.
So apparently Hector learned his lesson that making your main character completely unbeatable smug prick does not win over your audience. Here it is quite apparent from the first five minutes the pendulum has swung and Hector is now playing an amalgam of Ram Jam from The Wrestler and Rocky Balboa. We see him in some dump of a fight club basically fighting for whatever loose change is scraped off the floor. His first opponent is Nate “The Great” Marquardt. Hector’s fighter is still very good and Nate can only win by cheating. Nate grabs a piece of metal, wraps it around his fist and proceeds to beat Hector about the face so many times it looks like Bruce Willis turning Nick Stahl’s face into yellow goo. What’s funny is the ref is directly looking at it and lets the match continue. And I thought TNA refs were bad.
And just when you think Hector is trying to get serious and classy with his movies, the opening credits are nothing but shaking asses and even full frontal tit shots. Stay classy Hector…
So the result of Hector getting wailed on by a piece of steel for ten minutes is he has a small cut above his left eye. Hector wanders around dejected to a montage of some sappy Lisa Loeb type piece of schmaltz. So Hector comes to work at a strip club and we get five minutes of stripping. Nice to know we are focused on the story here. Anyway a group of loan sharks come in and maaaaybe break Hector’s arm (its hard to tell because he sells injuries worse than John Cena) because Hector owes $20,000. Hector has till the end of the month to pay. More shots of tits. Man even Showgirls took more time building a story than this movie.
Okay back to the Rocky copying. So Hectors arm is hurt and he gets whooped in a sparring match with Keith “The Dean of Mean” Jardine and its here we meet Hector’s Mickey like mentor. This sets up the complete underdog portion of the storyline. Cut next to a news cast from this movie’s UFC equivalent called Torko. Torko? Really? Torko? What the hell does that mean? Anyway we now meet Apollo Creed, I mean, Pressure Holland (played by Rashad Evans). Apparently they are looking for an undiscovered fighter to ultimately challenge Holland.
So there is a tournament set up with the winner getting a chance to challenge the champ. Apparently Pressure doesn’t want Hector because he is a little scared of him. Why, I don’t know but he stacks the deck against him in the tournament. Oh the odds are so stacked against him! Cue the Rocky montage…set to bland pseudo Christian rock sounding crap. We come back to one of my earlier gripes. I won’t deny that Echavarria is in great shape for his age. But you expect me to believe he can take on a world class fighter in his prime. Even Rocky Balboa had the justification that Rocky was fighting someone in a lower weight class; setting up a power vs. speed match up. Here there is no such concession.
I’ll cut through 20 minutes of useless bullshit (and for this movie that’s saying something). So Hector…okay hold up. I know I am using the actor’s name here instead of his character’s name. His character’s name is Ringo. That’s stupid. So anyway, Hector’s first opponent is Forrest Griffen (who in this movie is apparently the brother of Nate Marquardt). Griffen is given a pair of UFC gloves with steel inside of them and Pressure tells Griffen the refs won’t inspect them tonight. DUM DUM DUUUUUUUM!!!
So Mickey tells him the strategy to take on Forrest Griffen. It is something he has never tried before which is why he lost. It is called doing spin kicks and making your opponent lower his hands. So Forrest’s corner tells him to stop taking those spin kicks and to actually punch him. How does Hector counter Forrest’s lead fist? He *sighs* gets him on the ground, takes Forrest’s hand and smacks him across the face with it knocking him out. Wow. I didn’t know the “quit hitting yourself” tactic was so effective.
Hector’s bookie is a little pissed by this victory. See since Hector is such an underdog, that his bookie bet $100,000 that he would get his ass kicked. So the bookie goes to Pressure saying that he owes him (why I dunno) and tells Pressure to make it up to him in the next fight with Keith Jardine. The bookie then offers Jardine $250,000 to take a dive against Hector. Well he doesn’t throw it and Jardine still loses.
An odd little thing I should mention about these fights. We cut in between the action with a pair of commentators who repeatedly insult one another. Stuff like this:
Twenty seconds can be a long time…
Yeah, that’s what your mom said last night.
Now this idea could be funny if it weren’t so out of place with the rest of the movie. Plus, if we are doing this we need Will Farrell to play the obnoxious jackass role. What is also funny is that in every one of these fights there are a total of 40 people in the crowd. I understand this is a relatively low budget movie and they cut cost by only having like 40 people and the rest of the arena blacked out. But it is still funny when people remark that it’s a “packed house” or “this event is drawing in the fans”. I’ve seen bingo halls with more people.
So anyway the bookie is pissed that Jardine didn’t throw the match and threatens to kill him. Which doesn’t make a damn bit of sense. I mean, Jardine was supposed to lose, and he lost! Unless you are really betting on when he would take a dive but I think that would take the combined efforts of both fighters to get it down that well. So Hector fights the champion Pressure next. Soooooo let me get this straight. Torko is doing a nationwide tournament to find the greatest undiscovered fighter and it is only a four person bracket? And a person can walk off the street, win two fights and get a shot at the heavyweight championship!? Are you kidding me!? By that logic Roy Nelson should be getting a shot at the Undisputed Championship.
So the bookie wants to guarantee that Hector will lose the next match. How do you do that? The next logical step; ninjas. Okay its Keith Jardine in a ski mask, but its close enough. I mean, do you know how hard it is to contract actual ninjas for shit? It’s damn hard fellow readers. So Hector gets beat up and his plucky sidekick gets accidentally run over by a truck (don’t ask) putting him in a coma.
Hector is feeling dejected an Mickey comes over. Mickey asks why Hector’s arm is broken and he says “ninjas lol”. So Mickey decides to tell Hector a story about his mom. Yeah a dump truck of character development just spilled over us. So Hector’s mom was a world class MMA fighter who Mickey also trained. Sorry, I’m calling bullshit. Anyway, Mickey tells a story about a fight she had where she broke her leg early on and she gutted it out through an entire match. And blah blah blah that’s what fighting is all about. Everyone feeling good now? No? Well tough shit; on with the movie!
Yes so a guy with a 2-300 and 1 No Contest record now has a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship. Mickey says Hector doesn’t have a prayer. Gee, thanks for the moral support Mickey. Mickey does offer advice in that he heard something “on the street” that Pressure had a lot of concussions on his left side. Um, you can have localized concussions? Whatever. Anyway the advice is punch him a lot. Again, thanks Mickey.
Oh, and why was Pressure so scared to face Hector? Never answered.
Hector vs. Rashad Evans. Here is the fight; I’ll boil it down for you. Rashad throws several punches and Hector lowers his hands to take them. Hector then throws several punches and Rashad lowers his hands to take them. Lather, rinse, repeat. Is it really that hard to stage realistic matches? This is Mixed Martial Arts we are showing, not curling.
So Hector’s arm gets dislocated in the fight. Everyone wants him to quit but he fights on just like his mother. GET IT! GET IT!? *hits audience over the head with a clown hammer* This could only get more schmaltzy if he sees his dead mother…OH F*CK YOU MOVIE!!! GODDAMMIT! PIECE OF SHIT MOTHERFU–
*ten minutes of profanity later*
*sighs* Okay, I’m calm. I am calm now. So Hector becomes the new Torko champion, comic relief comes out of his coma, bookie gets whacked, Hector gets the hot stripper love interest, and we are played out by more pseudo Christian rock.
This movie blows. It is even worse than Death Warrior or Never Surrender. At least there you could laugh at how over the top it was. Here you have an legitimate attempt to cash in on Rocky and it fails worse because of it. I’m sure you could say this completes some trilogy but I wouldn’t dare say it. Because I’m sure in four months time I will be strolling down the aisles and seeing another one of these movies cleverly titled something like Tap Out! or The Octagon. Wait, that was a Chuck Norris movie. Whatever. Point is, this movie sucks.