Prison Fighters: Five Rounds to Freedom

2017

Action / Documentary

3
IMDb Rating 7.4 10 122

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Synopsis


Uploaded By: FREEMAN
November 15, 2020 at 03:56 PM

Director

Cast

Ron Perlman as Narrator
720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
797.67 MB
1280*714
English 2.0
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 26 min
P/S 2 / 20
1.6 GB
1920*1072
English 5.1
NR
23.976 fps
1 hr 26 min
P/S 4 / 28

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by A_Different_Drummer 7 / 10

Like the inmates, a film not certain of what it wants to be ...

My list of reviews on the IMDb contains a significant number of documentaries and it has always been my view that a good documentary can be both entertaining and informative at the same time.

(See, for example, my review of The 24 Hour War (2016), the tale of an infamous feud between two car companies. The movie made you FEEL LIKE YOU WERE RIGHT THERE AT THE TRACK.)

Which is not the case here. Here, Director Micah Brown made the most serious mistake any film-maker can commit going into a project. He believed his own "spin." Brown went out of his way, bent over backwards, performed filmic contortions, all to "de-sensationalize" this tale.

Fully aware that the fighting aspects could overpower the core story, and believing that the moral, ethical and existential aspects of the piece were far too important to trivialize, Brown presents the viewer with a story that overall seems more like a Sunday morning sermon than a boxing film.

The "proof" of the core flaw here becomes obvious when the actual fight finally arrives, after every possible moral nuance of the story has, by that time, been dug up and analyzed under a microscope.

Suddenly, as the bell sounds for Round 1, the ever-patient viewer realizes that he has no concept of the fighting capabilities of either man; there has been no attempt to present that information in the exposition; there is no colour commentary; the rounds (the culmination of the movie) are edited like a highlight reel and do not flow; and (surprise!) one of the opponents has a major size advantage that no one told you about.

Here is a tip to aspiring documentary makers: surprises are great for birthdays and anniversaries; story-telling requires keeping the viewer fully informed as we move along, so there can be "connection" with what is happening on screen.

Reviewed by bdburmeister 9 / 10

Prison Fighters: 5 Rounds to Freedom is a filmmaking masterpiece.

"Can violent men redeem themselves through violent acts?" It is a profound question asked midway through the Showtime documentary Prison Fighters: 5 Rounds to Freedom. It is a question the film explores deeply and honestly, and for which it never pretends there is an easy answer.

Though fewer than 90 minutes in length, Prison Fighters expertly covers the unique and controversial Prison Fight program in Thailand. The exquisite documentary offers much insight into the system, shares many wildly different perspectives on its appropriateness and effectiveness, and provides truly compelling narratives following multiple competitors.

The Prison Fight program offers select prisoners an opportunity to fight in Muay Thai tournaments for the chance to gain freedom. By winning these tournaments, the fighters stand to receive a royal pardon. What might at first sound like the plot in a Jean-Claude Van Damme film is, in fact, quite real. And quite serious.

As acclaimed Hollywood actor Ron Perlman, who poetically narrates the film, explains, "Muay Thai isn't just a sport, but a national obsession." The fervor of the Thai people for the martial art form of Muay Thai is palpable and deep-seeded. The film shows that Muay Thai is something akin to religion for its fans and practitioners.

For the two men at the center of the film, Muay Thai also represents a path to redemption.

We are introduced to former WBC champion Sirimongkol "Oh" Singwangcha—a superstar to the Thai people—who was arrested for possessing crystal meth. At the age of 32 he was given a 20-year sentence.

The film also spends considerable time with Noy Khaopan, a young man who hasn't seen his son in years, and whose past criminal offense was far more sinister than that of Oh.

For both men, Muay Thai presents their lives with purpose. The Prison Fight program provides them with a path to freedom and a return to their families.

The stories of these men are truly compelling. Oh speaks often and humbly about the need for second chances. Noy talks often of regret. Both express the desire to lead good lives and support others. We see Noy's parents and young son express their raw pain caused by his absence, as well as their desperate need for him to return home.

The fighters' journeys are ones the film hopes we support.

But the film is an emotional gauntlet. While we are brought to feel for these men, to root for these men, we are also forced to grapple with the complicated and often challenging nature of justice and forgiveness.

We hear of the destruction prisoners in the program have wreaked upon innocent lives. The film contains unforgettable interviews with parents who have lost children to murder. One grieving father takes a firm stance against the Prison Fight program: "There should be no difference between a fighter and ordinary people. There should be no privilege to be above the law." This is in sharp contrast to Noy, who, after expressing regret for his actions, says of the program, "Everyone needs to have hope. We can't live without hope."

The film provides a chorus of voices from the fighters, their families, the victims, high ranking officials within the Department of Corrections who run Prison Fight program, and even sports journalists. We hear many views, many legitimate perspectives on what Thailand has decided is best for its nation and inmate population. Prison Fighters gives us the chance to familiarize ourselves with their stories and make up our own minds.

Prison Fighters: 5 Rounds to Freedom is a filmmaking masterpiece. The Prison Fight program is fascinating, but the people we meet throughout the film are the content's true gems—each person we meet has a compelling, emotionally riveting story. Many have inspirational messages. The film isn't always a happy ride, but a worthwhile one. Films like Prison Fighters truly matter: human beings might just be better off if we all spent a little more time thinking about regret, redemption, and the power of forgiveness.

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