Following a boxing match that goes wrong, when his opponent dies in the ring, fighter Mike Thomas (Jawed El Berni) escapes to Thailand, where he hopes to start a new life.
Unfortunately, not all goes as smooth as he thought it would – upon his arrival, Mike gets mugged, losing his pack, and his wallet too.
Now he’s alone in a foreign country, without any money or hopes for a brighter future. Soon however, it all changes.
Mike meets Yo (Jakkrit Kanokpodjananon), a hustler, who tries to steal money from Mike, but after a nice fight, the two become friends, and Yo even invites Mike to his home.
Mike gets to meet Yo’s wife, beautiful Katoon (Jirantanin Pitakporntrakul), who cannot walk, and needs surgery on her legs.
Mike desperately needs to make some money, and Yo agrees to take him to an illegal, underground fighting tournament, called “Fighting Fish”, where he himself frequently fights.
Soon, Mike enrolls into the scheme, and starts participating as a fighter as well. He has a goal – to fight in “death matches”, to win enough prize money so that Yo’s wife could have enough for her surgery.
What Mike doesn’t know, is that once a fighter enters the “Fighting Fish”, he never quits.
Soon, he, and Yo find themselves in a deadly battle against a ruthless crime boss, who rules the underground fighting circuit.
Years ago, movies like “Ong Bak” and “Tom Yum Goong” set the standard for martial arts movies in Thailand. It’s nice to see that the standard is still being kept today.
“Fighting Fish” goes beyond the typical mindless fighting flick, showing a bit of a backstory on the main characters. The story line between Yo and Katoon is neat, and Mike fits somewhere in between just fine.
Both Jawed El Berni (Mike Thomas) and Yo (Jakkrit Kanokpodjananon) get their first starring roles here, and having the limited acting skills, they probably wouldn’t have done a better job.
Stuntman-fighter Jawed El Berni has the looks of a villain, yet he’s quite likable as a protagonist, who risks his life, for his new friend. His character at times seems desperate to do something good, probably trying to “cover” the mistakes he did in the past.
The fights are great, there are both fast cuts and slow motion moments, although they do not shine with originality – some fighting moments and moves were directly borrowed from the famous “Undisputed 2-3” series with Scott Adkins.
Regardless, this is a solid Thai martial arts film for the fans of the genre.
“Fighting Fish” is not as violent as “Tom Yum Goong”, and not as crazy as “The Raid” for example, but still worth a look, if you can forget about the acting.
Below is a nice, kick-ass trailer for the film.
BZFILM SCALE: 6/10
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