"Fighter" (Denmark)

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Aicha (SEMRA TURAN) is in her last year of high school in Copenhagen. With aspirations of venturing into medicine as her older brother Ali (NIMA NABIPOUR) did, it is also her parents dream. However, much larger than her dream of being a doctor, is her passion for Kung Fu. Aicha lives and breathes the art. Currently, Aicha practices martial arts after school with her teacher and other female students.

After a scuffle with an ego-maniacal teammate, she leaves the school. Aicha finds another kung fu school at an elite level and she is desperate to join. Her Turkish parents do not approve with it being co-ed and in general, women fighting. Summarily, kung-fu becomes forbidden in their household. Unbeknownst to her family, she discovers stern, no nonsense Kung Fu master, Shi fu (XIAN GAO “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”) and asks him to join class. From the get go, Aicha is asked to prove herself and her dedication to Kung Fu.

Aicha encounters Emil (CYRON MELVILLE) and Shi fu requests that he become her training partner despite Aicha asking for her female classmate. So, they both train together and eventually love is in the air. However, because of their cultural differences, it is not meant to be in Aicha’s eyes. In the interim, her brother Ali cautions her not to “ruin” his recent engagement with his betrothed Jasmin (ÖZLEM SAGLANMAK ) with her so called foolish antics.

With the annual Kung Fu championship coming around the corner, Shi fu showcases his number one student, Omar (BEHRUZ BANISSI) to the class. When Shi fu asks Omar to fight Aicha, he declines (he does not fight girls) and is forced to leave class. Tension arises between them both as Omar feels she is causing shame upon her family for training with boys in secret. Called “cheap” and other deriding words, Omar spreads the word around and eventually becomes her chief rival.

Fighter is the first Danish action film to utilize wirework professionals and international stunt people on this level. With dynamic martial arts choreography (Semra and Behruz had studied martial arts before, but many months of training the actors particularly, Cyron Melville who knew no martial arts came into play) adding style and flair to the storyline by Xian Gao, the film reaches high levels in many aspects- importantly in characters we care about, conflicts both external and internal on several levels, and action that’s not flat or downright silly.

Semra Turan as Aicha is passionate determined and possesses the heart and spirit that her Shi fu spoke about. What is excellent about the film is that the martial arts is not the sole focus of the film, the film revolves around other matters, involving family ties, finding your niche and following your dreams and not giving up on them.

Master Gao’s School: http://www.gaokungfuacademy.com/

****
Weak: 1 Star   Average: 2 Stars   Good: 3 Stars   Very Good: 4 Stars   Excellent: 5 Stars

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Tobe R. Roberts

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