Bruised, review: MMA fighter Halle Berry for Netflix

Bruised – Struggle to live marks the directorial debut of the successful actress Halle Berry, which has been in the cinematographic world for years and years taking part in products such as X-Men, Catwoman, Monster Ball (for which it won an Oscar) and many other titles that we will not be here to mention. The premises of the title, from the 24th of this month on Netflix, were quite interesting: nothing new or innovative but, at least from a first glance, with interesting potential, in primis for the cast themselves, including we find Berry herself as the protagonist in the role of Jackie Justice.

The opera is in all respects a sports drama which is inspired by all its predecessors, from A to Z, primarily a Rocky, in all its splendor and in its profoundly iconic being. Too bad that between plot, stale dialogues and unsatisfactory direction, Bruised is nothing more than an average product and also below average to see on Netflix, to spend two hours in the company of something to look at without too much empathy. Now, going into the detail of our review, we will explain why, focusing on all the meat focused on without obtaining the much hoped for results.

Bruised - to fight for a living

Bruised: a copy of a copy

Let’s start from the backbone of the feature film, the plot in all its deeply anonymous and unconvincing nature in all its facets. Bruised narrates thehe story of former UFC fighter Jacki Justice, a complicated and unhappy woman who, in the face of a wrong encounter betrayed by her manager, and partner, decides to leave the MMA path to lead a normal life alongside her partner, in a suburban neighborhood. Her life is disrupted by the meeting with the famous Immaculate who proposes to return to shine in the Women’s League and the unexpected arrival of his son: little Manny arrives at his house after the sudden death of his father, to whom Jackie had left her son as soon as she gave birth. And that said, you know everything about this film.

There is no dynamism, if not with the sudden arrival of the child, how can we describe everything else? The classic story of a person shot down from life, on the fringes of society, who tries to regain control of his own existence through sporting success, which wouldn’t be bad at all. Cinema is not made up solely and exclusively of new, unpublished narratives and we understand this: in fact it is precisely the way in which Bruised it is told that it leaves us deeply perplexed, if not indifferent.

It all adds up to a chaotic and useless set of information that are revealed to us about the protagonist, her traumas, her ghosts of the past, her terrible relationship with her partner, her inadequacy as a parent and so on. Unfortunately, no Jackie dilemma is really investigated and above all, there is no real and interesting evolution and resolution, which is the main cons of the whole film. We do not understand where it wants to go and what it wants to tell us beyond the successful attempt of an adult woman who tries to find a place in the world, which is just a pale, very pale attempt to imitate the at least memorable story of a title like Rocky starring Stallone , there is nothing actually distinctive in everything that is narrated to the public and it is rarely possible to truly create empathy with the protagonist or with the others who populate the story

The plot also runs very slowly for all two hours directed by Halle Berry, not only because of the uninteresting nature behind all of Bruised but also because of the dialogues that are inconclusive and stereotyped, as are most of the characters, with particular regard to men of all the film. Here, this is a further element that has made everything even more “artificial”, tedious to observe and difficult to appreciate: Immaculate, Jackie’s unbearable boyfriend, all male characters are boring, arrogant, macho all muscles that tell the protagonist how to live life, laugh at her, mistreat her, use it, designed to bring out the female feats of the fighter, who not by chance has the word “Justice” in the surname; pity they do the exact opposite.


Everything desperately screams “power to women”, which has nothing wrong with it, apart from the fact that our MMA enthusiast is, unfortunately, significantly disagreeable in most of the situations and difficulties she encounters. He never makes a fair one and, just as important, she has no charisma, she does not show compassion towards others or even towards herself, she is selfish, silent and when she speaks she never says anything actually incisive in the whole film: in short, a proclaimed disaster on every front.

In the end, directed by Halle Berry is the least catastrophic aspect of all, although it is not a convincing attempt, the commitment is nevertheless appreciable. We do not notice a distinctive trait in the choice of shots or in the way in which certain scenes were conceived, including the dramatic ones, but in any case the directing aspect touches the sufficiency being a first attempt that shows good will.


Our conclusions on Bruised are anything but tempting, by and large, bearing in mind every single aspect that didn’t convince us and the direction of Halle Berry, we could give the feature a full five: undoubtedly there are titles that have done worse jobs, of much lower quality; the work had a good cast to count on, exploited in an uninteresting way, and also a budget not to be underestimated to propose a better narrative, but it did not succeed, collapsing on itself and on the obvious uncertainties to show on the construction of the plot. Everything remains unsolved, vague and, at the end of the story, it remains unchanged as the soul of the audience, after realizing that they have seen more than two hours of film without rhyme or reason. Too bad for this wasted and insufficient attempt, we hope to see Halle Berry struggling with protagonists who fit her better and, perhaps, in a more inspired directorial attempt than we have seen in this film.

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