American Fighter tells the tale of a young man trying to raise funds to help his ailing mother. With the help of his high school friend, Ali (George Kosturos) does that, who lets him know about an underground fighting scene. He meets McClellen (Tommy Flanagan), who runs the competitions.
Below I spoke with George Kosturos about training for the film, like working with Tommy Flanagan/Sean Flanery and what it was like fighting on the screen.
Fight after fight, Ali continues to dominate, but he wants to help his mother, and McClellen sees this and takes advantage of him. He sets him up for all his money, and Ali pays the price.
The story isn’t much different from the other films in this genre but what sets this apart from the rest is the strong performance from the cast. From George Kosturos to Tommy Flanagan to Sean Flanery, they all took what was written and ran with it.
Director/Co-Writer Shawn Piccinino drives home the story’s transition from the second to the final act. We had this competitive drive within Ali, but he takes it up another notch with the help of Duke (Flanery), who brings out the best in Ali. The duo’s chemistry is fantastic.
The way Piccinino shot these fight scenes put you in the middle of each of the fights. You can see the ending coming a mile away, but it doesn’t take away from an excellent shot ending to a great fighting film. The final act is very predictable, but sometimes films like this need that bow on top.
The ensemble cast makes American Fighter different from your typical fight movie.