Imagine a 42-year-old out of shape Biology teacher stepping into the cage for his first MMA match, his only athletic background being a collegiate wrestler during his college days as well as a few weeks of judo training.
This is the plot for “Here Comes the Boom,” the new sports comedy starring Kevin James.
Produced by Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison Productions, and directed by Frank Coraci, who also directed pictures like “The Wedding Singer” and “The Waterboy,” the movie is about high school teacher Scott Voss, played by James, who has lost his passion for teaching and gets in trouble for being late.
When it is announced that the school’s music program is going to be cut, Voss, who had earlier watched his students at band practice, volunteers to raise the money to help keep the music program afloat and help the music teacher Marty (Henry Wrinkler) keep his job.
One of the ways Voss tries to raise the money is by teaching a citizenship class where he agrees to help his student Niko (Bas Rutten) study for the citizenship exam. When Voss goes to Niko’s apartment, they watch UFC where Voss gets the idea to enter MMA in hopes of raising the money.
James’s performance as Voss comes across as the usual underdog protagonist in sports movies, yet being a mixed martial arts fan himself, he is able to take the punishment that is thrown his way throughout the movie.
In terms of supporting actors, both Rutten and Wrinkler are good compliments to James’s character. Rutten’s character Neko seems to be an extension of himself while Wrinkler’s character of Marty is passionate, graceful and thankful for what Voss is doing for him.
Both Neko and Marty have mishaps that not only affect Voss in a negative, but hilarious way.
Salma Hayek, who plays the typical love interest character in the story, also has a few funny moments of her own late in the film.
Although diehard MMA fans may find the pacing of the movie slow in the beginning, it picks up as Voss begins training for the fight.
The fight scenes themselves look like what would normally be in movies that feature combat sports, with the exception of one of the earlier matches. Still fight fans who love seeing big hits and solid action will enjoy the fight choreography. Some viewers also might have a hard time with the camera shaking during some of the fight scenes.
Mixed martial arts fans might chuckle at how the movie pokes fun at the smaller MMA shows. They will also enjoy the cameos by several well-known fighters like Jason “Mayhem” Miller, Wanderlei Silva and Chael Sonnen. There are even a couple of references to Pride that old-school MMA fans might enjoy.
While the plot itself is similar to most underdog sports movies, it still has its funny moments throughout the picture. It also sends a positive message, and will have viewers leaving the movie theater with a smile on their faces.
For parents who let their children watch any kind of combat sports, or even professional wrestling, this could be a movie for the entire family.
Fans of MMA, or any other combat sports, will enjoy this movie, as would anyone who is a fan of Kevin James and other movies put out by Happy Madison Productions.
Overall I would give “Here Comes the Boom” a grade of A-
Have you seen “Here Comes the Boom?” What did you think? Comment below or send a tweet to @alstover with the hashtag #RantMMA