Two years of training, two broken ribs, numerous bruises – Halle Berry really gave everything to be optimally prepared for the drama “Bruised”, in which she plays an MMA fighter.
The abbreviation stands for Mixed Martial Arts, a mixture of different martial arts such as kickboxing, jiu-jitsu, muay thai and wrestling. Berry has been a boxing and MMA fan for a long time, which is why she really wanted to participate in the film project.
Cleaning instead of kicking in the octagonal cage
However, she had to wait a few months until the 21 years younger white actress Blake Livley, who was originally intended, decided against it. In the meantime, Berry wondered how the story, written by Michelle Rosenfarb, could be turned on an older African American woman. When she got the lead for the lead role, she also took over directing – for the first time ever.
You can see the Oscar winner’s passion for “Bruised,” which is now on Netflix. She doesn’t spare herself, throws herself into the training and fight scenes with full strength and walks through the film for a long time with a huge black eye and various scratches. Vain is different. It’s easy to forget that Berry, in his mid-50s, is significantly older than the protagonist she portrays, Jackie Justice.
She was once a star, but has disappeared from the scene for four years and works as a cleaner. She smokes, drinks and lives in Newark, New Jersey with her quick-tempered lover Desi (Adan Canto), who still poses as her manager. When he dragged her along to watch an illegal fight, Jackie beats the winner because she feels provoked by her.
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Impressed by Jackie’s performance, the promoter of an MMA league offers her to train and fight with him. Jackie actually returns to the octagonal cage, which is mainly due to the fact that she has just lost her cleaning job and her six-year-old son Manny (Danny Boyd Jr.) suddenly appears again with her. She had given it away as a toddler. Now his father has been murdered and he needs a place to stay.
“Bruised” – shot in muted winter colors – tells of a double comeback, with which the overload of the film begins. Because Manny is so traumatized that he does not speak a word and eats nothing. The overwhelmed Desi becomes violent, whereupon Jackie moves in with Manny to her mother, although she has a very bad relationship with her.
She later reveals the extremely violent reason for this in an argument. Yes, Jackie also fights the demons of her past – a standard topos of the martial arts film.
Berry and Rosenfarb – it is their first feature film – screenplay – load their work with ever new problems and twists in over two hours, whereby they lose sight of themes that were introduced at the beginning, such as alcohol and poverty.
The fact that Desi disappears so quickly also seems implausible to say the least. But he has to go so that there is room for Jackie’s new trainer Bobbi in the plot. Charismatically embodied by the British Sheila Atim, the Zen Buddhist is also a wounded soul, and the rapprochement between the two women is one of the most touching aspects of “Bruised”. The fact that they are also accused of a love affair that ends just as abruptly as it begins shows the imbalance of the drama.
[„Bruised“ läuft ab dem 24.11., 9 Uhr auf Netflix]
Berry, whose flop series from “Cat Woman” to “Cloud Atlas” is now impressively long, will not make a comeback in the first Hollywood league. But the 20-minute final battle of “Bruised”, which features a real MMA master in Valentina Shevchenko, is well worth seeing. She broke Berry’s ribs during training. “Lady Killer” also does a great job in the film: She turns Jackie’s face into a bloody grimace. Guaranteed blue eye.