An Exclusive First Look At Gritty Fight Flick BARRIO BRAWLER

Todd Brown, Founder and Editor
Put aside your preconceptions about independent production house The Asylum for just a moment. Because while, yes, a sizable percentage of their output is given over to made for television creature features and the 'mockbusters' they made famous, they're doing something entirely different with Jose Montesinos' Barrio Brawler.

How so?

Barrio Brawler a totally original property, for one thing, written by Montesinos as well as directed by him. And while it certainly follows a well established format amongst fight films it's not riding the coattails of anything. Second, as you may have picked up, it's a fight movie. A no holds barred, skilled martial artists in a warehouse beating the tar out of one another, fight flick. Third? Look at the bottom of the poster. They're taking this one out theatrically. And if the trailer is an indication of what they've got, then they're likely going to find a receptive audience, too.

The story revolves around a martial arts instructor forced to fight in an underground tournament to protect his family and while we've certainly seen that basic scenario before the execution here looks like it could be the thing that fans of the Undisputed movies have been waiting for to carry them over.

Twitch is happy to premiere the Barrio Brawler trailer. Take a look below.
Around the Internet:
  • Eric Jacobus

    This is the kind of martial art movie I've been waiting for, for a long time. It's what Red Belt tried to be, but failed on the action front. It's what The Raid tried to be, but failed on the story front. The action in Barrio is plentiful and of high quality, but most importantly it's got amazing acting and a story that moves everything forward very well. I look forward to bashing any reviewer who writes negatively of it in any way.

  • Jose M.

    Thanks for the support, man! I appreciate that you dug it so much. I just saw this post. And hey, bash the guy at the bottom of the page, that Thomas dude, LOL

  • Dave

    Saw it an AMC theater the other night. Thanks J.M. for posting the list of theaters.

    Movie is a lot of fun, and the fight scenes are well done. Very realistic and great use of slow mo to capture some key action. It's definitely got a story to it and a decent one at that. The main characters are believable. It has some good one line zingers here and there, with probably the best callout to Best Buy I've ever heard on screen. I could easily see them using it in their next ad campaign!

    It is perfect? No. A couple of scenes drag a little bit here and there and there were times that I wished the fight scenes lasted just a little bit longer. The ending is an unexpected twist and not what you expect. It breaks the typical formula in that regard which is a good thing. I felt that the movie could have easily ran another 20-30 minutes or so and not suffered for it. I think there was a lot more that could have been done if the director had just a little bit more money/time.

    I'd recommend going to see it, but unfortunately I was told that there was only one showing! What's that all about? It's too bad because I think it really could have found an audience in the theaters for at least a weekend. I think the audience I saw it with thought so too. The theater was 2/3rd filled and people were getting into it.

  • J.M.

    Thanks for checking out the film and for the kind words! Which theater did you see it at? It is unfortunate that it was only one show, but it is available on iTunes and some VOD stations now, and will be on DVD and netflix in late August.

  • Dave

    Mesquite, outside of Dallas, TX.

  • Dave

    Anyone know what theaters this will be in? I can't seem to find any showtimes, but it's listed as a coming movie on AMC. Doesn't say where though.

  • J.M.

    Here's the list as far as we know:

    AMC Empire
    Address: 234 W 42nd St, New York, 10036
    Phone:(212) 398-2597

    AMC CityWalk
    100 Universal City Plaza
    Universal City, CA 91608
    (818) 508-0711

    AMC Metreon
    135 4th Street Suite #3000
    San Francisco, CA 94103
    (415) 369-6207

    AMC Mission Valley
    Address: 1640 Camino Del Rio N, San Diego, CA 92108
    Phone:(619) 296-2737

    AMC Cicero Showplace
    Address: 4779 W Cermak Rd, Cicero, IL 60804
    Phone:(708) 416-3980

    AMC Studio 30
    Address: 12075 S Strang Line Rd, Olathe, KS 66062
    Phone:(913) 393-3030

    AMC Mesquite 30
    Address: 19919 Lyndon B Johnson Fwy, Mesquite, Texas 75149
    Phone:(972) 329-3990

    AMC Arizona Center
    Address: 565 N 3rd St, Phoenix, AZ 85004
    Phone:(602) 307-5371

    AMC Showplace
    Address: 848 Lifestyle St, Manteca, CA 95336
    Phone:(209) 239-1147

    AMC Sunset Place
    5701 Sunset Drive
    South Miami, FL 33143
    (305) 740-8904

    AMC Town Square
    6587 Las Vegas Blvd. S
    Las Vegas, NV 89119

    AMC Foothills Mall
    Address: 7401 N La Cholla Blvd #144, Tucson, AZ 85741
    Phone:(520) 742-5050

    AMC Mercado
    Address: 3111 Mission College Blvd, Santa Clara, CA 95054
    Phone:(408) 919-0282

    AMC Barton Creek
    Address: 2901 S Capital of Texas Hwy, Austin, TX 78746
    Phone:(512) 306-1991

    AMC Downtown Disney
    1500 E Buena Vista Dr
    Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830

  • Dave Baxter

    DENNIS RUEL! In a theatrically released movie? Wow. Just...it looks like it's not too much better in plot and performance than most 80s/90s MA actioners like Perfect Weapon or Excessive Force, and that could frankly hurt it. But if it does well enough this could be the start of seeing some of our fave indie action guys going small theatrical stuff. That'll be a big step in the right direction. But, sigh, they have GOT to start paying more attention to the script and acting if the movie isn't 98% action a la The Raid.

  • Floyd

    How do you know the script and acting aren't good if you haven't seen it yet? The trailer is pretty much all action. Besides, how many different plots that give martial artists an excuse to do their thing (which is what everyone really wants to see anyway) are there? But I guess haters gotta hate, but if you know someone involved in it, you should be more supportive instead of shooting it down before you've even seen it.

  • Dave Baxter

    Yeah, that's me, the excited and hopeful and wanting this to do well "hater". I don't know the script isn't good, I said and i quote "it looks like it's not too much better...." which is a statement that directly acknowledges that it is an inference from the available material. If you are one of those people that believe you can't formulate an opinion on things you are exposed to, whether it's an a trailer, a teaser, a casting choice, or a final film, that's nice, but you're dead wrong. Most of us have the capacity to form opinions on everything, because we breathe.

    The trailer is also not "pretty much all action". There are short snippets of action for the first 15 seconds while the announcer does a sort of "The Rules Are..." schtick, which is pretty overdone and half-baked as a framing device. Then there is no action and all dramatic set up for the next 50 seconds, announcing the situation of the characters and their predicament and here the acting and the script falls into very familiar territory. Then from the 1:05 mark to the 1:25 mark there's lots of action. Hardly "all action", and plenty of non-action content to formulate an early opinion on.

    After all, forming an early opinion on a film is the entire reason trailers are made. Otherwise they'd just show a poster and then make you wait.

  • Floyd

    I see. Thanks for the clarification. I am not "one of those people", I formulated an opinion about you, didn't I? And I am forming more. But my point was only to say that if you in fact know and respect someone involved in it, maybe you shouldn't put your negative thoughts out there until you've actually seen the film. Just for the sake of being supportive of this person if not for anything else.

  • Dave Baxter

    "I formulated an opinion about you, didn't I?"

    Ha ha, touche. ;)

    I don't really believe in being falsely supportive, though I will be sincerely supportive - I'll say I love Dennis Ruel, and hope this does well. But I don't believe that anyone will like this movie just because I don't say something. It'll sink or swim on it's own steam. I fear some elements of it won't be strong enough, and these are weaknesses that plague MA action films, and I really, really want these guys to push themselves to making better overall material so their talents don't go to waste. More people should enjoy these films, but that WILL require stepping up some of their games, beyond the action. As a huge fan of these guys, even I'm getting tired of watching the same old, same old with them. So yeah, I support them by both cheering them on and also putting my foot on their butts to do better, when applicable.

  • J.M.

    If I can chime in here I'd just like to say that I worked on this film and rest assured it's pretty solid. The trailer actually makes it look dumber than it is. Dennis does some terrific acting as well as fighting/choreo and all the other stunt performers and actors are good as well. I think people will be pleasantly surprised. : )

  • Dave Baxter

    Cool, what part/role/crew position did you take part in? Do you know if these guys and Asylum have plans to do more MA films like this?

    Also, for all my griping, I'll definitely try to see this in the theater. I'm based in Los Angeles so likely I'll have the chance.

  • Jose M.

    Thanks for your interest in the film, I hope you enjoy it!

  • Jose M.

    I was hired to write/direct the thing, but according to the standards/requirements The Asylum needed for it. Hence the typical set up. I don't know if they plan on doing more, that all depends on how well it does on VOD and DVD I think.

    If you want to see in the theater, it's playing at Citywalk on Tuesday June 25th at 5pm. Unfortunately that's the only showing.

    I agree with what you said about making better stories for these movies, but like Floyd said there aren't a whole of scenarios for fight films to believably play out in. It's tricky, and independently Dennis and I have worked on our own films I try to put more interesting spins on things. That being said I think this little film comes off pretty damn good for what it is and how we did it. And I leave you with a quote from a Jim Jarmusch article: "Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent."

  • Dave Baxter

    Too bad it's only one date and time but I'll definitely be there. Kind of overplaying that "In Theaters June 25th" bit if it's only one showing, but hard to blame 'em for that.

    I'll also preorder a DVD and these films tend to do well on VOD (action-y "mindless" thrills are great for quick impulse late night buys).

    I think there's a lot more range for fight films than we normally acknowledge. Like most fiction, it isn't actually believable for any fight movie scenario to take place - not and have the fights be dazzling to watch, or follow a plot's progression. It might be better to think of these as action movies, only with affordable action (stunts/choreography) instead of explosions and gun fights. Think of how many stories we shove action into, look even at classic HK cinema where the acrobatic of their actors were on display in virtually every genre they ever bothered with.

    Also consider that the big fight/action stars of the 70's and 80's became stars because they broke the molds - they introduced cinematic fighting to new genres and new kinds of stories when previously it was all historic/operatic overload, probably because of the same barrier you mention: it didn't seem realistic to put this kind of action in modern times, or in comedies, or supernatural horror, etc. Yet whole iconic careers were built on breaking down those perceived barriers.

    And I disagree with Jarmusch on this one: in the context he uses the words, Authenticity and Originality are synonymous. Does an author have an "authentic" voice or an "original" voice? If the voice is authentic, then it's individual and therefore original because no one else can be that individual. That isn't to say it's free from influences but originality does not actually mean "made from nothing". It means "showing a marked departure from previous practice" or "inventive". Believing originality doesn't exist is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    But that all said, I'll let the work speak for itself in a few weeks :) Congrats on getting the gig, making it happen, and getting it out there.

  • Guest

    What do you mean by, "Hence the typical set up"?

  • Jose M.

    I mean that's why we have the "guy is forced to fight in an underground tournament to save his family" set up.

  • Floyd

    But that's just my opinion. And I am entitled to it as well.

  • rusticb

    I wrote an article on this and linked back to you guys for the trailer! ;) http://www.rusticb.com/blogpos...

  • rusticb

    WOO! Check out my boys kickin ass! Morgan and Alvin, this is badass.

  • Jakob

    Looks like a pretty fun movie! Basic premise, but cool looking fights! I'm in!

  • Sicily

    I think it looks pretty good!

  • Thomas Zack

    Holy crap does this look stupid!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • William Shakesbeard

    Not as stupid as your grammar

  • Thomas Zack

    Their aint nodding rong wit mi fukking grammar!!!!

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