Young Michael Shaw who practices karate, witnesses his parents get shot in cold blood by an unknown tattooed hijacker (MMA fighter Krzysztof Soszynski). The boy manages to escape, and the tattoo of the killer is the only thing he remembers from that nightmare night.
The investigation brings no results, the killer is never found, and the case gets closed. Years later, Michael (Cody Hackman) has long forgotten karate, and is living a usual college life – falling behind in classes, getting drunk, and generally being someone his parents would’ve been ashamed of.
And yet, the youngster is given a chance. His principal (Martin Kove) sends him to do community service work at a rundown karate school, run by a former paratrooper Reggie (Michael Biehn), who also happens to be the friend of Michael’s deceased father.
Michael and Reggie don’t really get along, until Reggie’s cute niece Jen (Jess Brown) takes Michael to an underground fight, where Michael recognizes his parents’ killer – Dominic Gray, who is the undefeated champion among the circuit’s fighters.
What follows is Michael’s complete turnaround, as he realizes the police cannot help him, and urges Reggie to train him, to compete in the upcoming tournament, and exact revenge on Gray for killing his parents years ago.
What should be said first is that “Tapped Out” is not a typical brainless cliche “mma movie”. Although the beginning of the film is basically Van Damme’s “Double Impact”, and the rest of the story has been done numerous times, the film still offers something for the fans of the fighting genre. It looks like there was some soul put into the production.
While the cover of the film promotes the widely-known names in the mixed martial arts world (Soszynski, Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida), the cast includes veteran actors Michael Biehn and Martin Kove.
Kove has a limited part, which was even supposed to be a cameo at first, according to IMDb, while Biehn is on the screen full-time, trying to portray a martial arts teacher. Not that he shines in it, but he’s fine.
There aren’t a lot of fights, thus the film is basically a low-budget revenge drama, set in the world of martial arts.
The central characters in the film are very much alive, and interesting to follow, but what’s even better is that the directing of the fight scenes isn’t as irritating as in some other similar films – “Tapped Out” has almost none of shaky cam.
The final showdown between Cody Hackman and real-life MMA fighter Krzysztof Soszynski started off as a joke – who would’ve believed that a skinny karate kid would beat a monster? And yet, the fight is not lame – a few twists here and there, and it starts to look more believable.
“Tapped Out” is Allan Ungar’s first full-feature film, and it is, of course, not without flaws. The story is very straightforward, some scenes could’ve been better prepared (the hijacking scene, use of a new “search engine” in one scene), but overall it’s your low-budget “MMA Kid”. Nothing memorable, but made with soul and should satisfy the fans of martial arts films.
BZFILM SCALE: 6/10
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