Born A Champion | Film Review

After watching this lowkey action-drama, I couldn’t help but compare it to the modern-day Rocky story in the MMA world. Sean Patrick Flanery plays an incredibly amazing role in this movie that he also wrote alongside Alex Ranarivelo. He began writing the story about Mickey Kelley nearly fourteen years ago and was finally able to bring it to the big screen in 2021. The plot – a man who gets a second chance to prove himself as a fighter well past his prime as he battles his passion and desire to do all that he’s ever known while building a family with his always-supporting wife and while the two raise a son.

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The movie is mostly told through the eyes and narrated by Mickey’s best friend, known as Rosco aka Taco (played by Maurice Compte). Mickey Kelley, one of the earliest American Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts, is a determined martial artist who faces several fights throughout his life – with the biggest one being in an unsanctioned MMA tournament in Dubai. This pseudo-documentary features Sean Patrick Flanery (who plays Mickey) who falls in love with a woman he meets on a flight to Dubai. Fate would bring Mickey and Layla (played by Katrina Bowden) together in a sub-plot fairytale story.

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The movie pulls at the heart-strings several times and in several instances as Mickey finds himself in a constant battle within for the ultimate goal of defeating the best in the sport. The relationship shared by he and his wife is one to admire. As no matter how much she disagrees with him and worries that each fight could potentially lead to severe injury or death – she always supports him every step of the way.

I won’t get into too much detail, but the movie puts you on an emotional rollercoaster as you experience happiness, sadness, happiness, sadness, and more happiness and sadness. So if you’re looking for a movie with a bit of everything and a few life-lessons along the way, be sure to check it out – you won’t be disappointed.

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