Director: Aaron Leong
Writing: Josh Campbell, Darrin Reed, Matthew Stuecken
Starring: Cody Christian, Elisabeth Rohm, Kevin Pollak
Plot: Nick Newell, a one-armed MMA fighter gets a rare chance to fight for the lightweight championship. He strives to win for himself and all the other people in the world with physical challenges.
“If you don’t believe in yourself, why would anyone else?” Nick faces the obstacles like very few as he was born with a partial arm and now he plans on taking his talents to the school wrestling team.
We all know that making it in sports is hard, and advancing to make a career out of it is even more challenging. But, then, you have Nick, who faces twice the obstacles because of what he was born with. So he has to work 10 times harder than anyone else to make the team but 20 times harder to succeed.
Early on, the jumps are all over the place, which expedites the process of how Nick got to where he is, but they should have added a bit more foundation in his back story before fast-forwarding so fast.
One of the most significant issues I had early on was the lack of emotional attachment with Nick. Of course, we understand that he struggles, but they still did nothing to invest us in his arc emotionally. Well, that was until the middle of the second act. Without divulging and if you know the true story surrounding Nick Newell, you know what happens, but if you were like me and didn’t, HOLY COW. The turn here FLOORS you and adds what that first act was genuinely missing.
Jeremy (Barry Livingston), Nick’s high-school wrestling coach, becomes a believer even after he quit on him and helps him train. Livingston, for me, was a great piece of the puzzle next to Cody Christian. Livingston added an extra layer to the rise of Nick in a way that elevated the film.
As we reached the final act, we hit that predictable stage of these typical movies. Again, Nick faced the obstacle of being a sideshow and the champion not wanting to fight him, and once granted the fight, the training montage was in full effect. The tension was built decent enough to want to know what happened and how the fight is shot, we feel like we are in the octagon with these guys.
Last, Notorious Nick doesn’t reinvent the MMA sports drama by any means but is a solid little sports drama that keeps you invested from start to finish.