When it comes to the mainstream media trying to harness what MMA is all about, it can often be very cringe inducing to even a casual fan of the sport.

There are episodes of various television shows like CSI, or a recent commercial that features what appears to be an underground fight for Nos energy drink, that paint “cage fighting” in a bad light.  When it was announced that Kevin James was going to star in a comedy about a MMA fighter working up the ranks to fight in the UFC, immediately the world of MMA started cringing.

But I, for one, was surprised when the credits of Here Comes The Boom rolled this past weekend.  I was sure that it would provide a lot of moments where I would have been rolling my eyes in embarrassment by what unfolded on the screen.  But honestly, there were few, if any such moments.  As it turns out, it wasn’t so much of a movie about MMA, as it was a heartwarming movie where the main character put himself on the line for the greater good.

James stars as Scott Voss, a high school biology teacher whose career appears to be going down the gutter as he has been losing interest in his job with each passing year.  When it is announced that the school’s extracurricular activities, including the school’s outstanding music program, would be lost due to budget cuts, Voss does whatever he can to start raising money to save the programs.  He starts to moonlight as a United States citizenship teacher, and while giving one of his students (MMA legend Bas Rutten) a private lesson at his place, he watches a UFC fight between Brian Stann and Ken Dietrich (portrayed by UFC veteran Krzysztof Soszynski).  After learning that Stann received $10,000 to lose, Voss decides to start fighting in order to raise the money to save the school’s programs.  The story plays out from there, as he rises from a low-level local fighter, all the way up to the UFC.

Anyone that knows what Bas Rutten is all about knows that he has a funny personality and can often be a bit of a goofball.  While Rutten’s character in the movie is named “Niko,” he more or less plays himself—a former fighter from the Netherlands who had to retire due to a neck injury.  The former UFC heavyweight champion more or less steals the show with his performance, being equal parts funny and sincere.  Also jumping aboard to help James make his way to the top is MMA trainer Mark DellaGrotte, which makes sense since the plot takes place in Boston.

Sure, there were a couple of things here and there that were definitely not 100 percent true to the real sport of MMA, but to point them out or attack them in an effort to put down the movie really isn’t worth the time.  To the average moviegoer, Soszynski is the right fighter for the big screen because of his outward appearance (muscular and filled with all sorts of tattoos), but to the MMA fan it makes sense because at the end of the day “The Polish Experiement” was, and still is, a solid fighter.  But Soszynski isn’t the only fighter who makes a cameo in the film.  Jason “Mayhem” Miller, Chael Sonnen and Mark Munoz, among others, have various roles and do a fine job acting in their roles.

I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed the film.  There were lots of laugh out loud moments from scenes both inside and outside of the cage, and at no point did any of the situations feel as though they were so over the top that it became any less enjoyable to watch.  And it wasn’t just me.  There were plenty of people in the theater that were visibly on the edge of their seats, taking in everything that the film was trying to give them.

At the end of the day, it is more than a film about a UFC fighter, it is a movie about doing whatever is possible to do what is right when everyone else gave up.  Check out Here Comes The Boom, you won’t be disappointed.

Photo: Kevin James (Sherdog)

About The Author

Brian McKenna
Staff Writer

Brian McKenna was born and raised in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts. A sports nut from as long as he can remember, he came to be a fan of Mixed Martial Arts from a roommate watching The Ultimate Fighter while attending Westfield State College. Brian came to writing by starting his own blog, Four Down Territory, which focuses on Boston based sports, life, and of course MMA.