Fans both of last autumn's Warrior as well as underground, edge-of-society docs like Paul Hough's The Backyard will likely spark to Fightville, a knuckle-dusting portrait of aspirant mixed martial artists from co-directors Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker (How to Fold a Flag). Shrewdly observed and possessing of two top-notch subjects, Fightville features plenty of neck chops, grappling and other fighting action, but connects chiefly on a basic human level, charting the fundamental craving for acknowledgment, betterment and emotional connection of two young souls.
It's a fairly gritty thing, of course, but Fightville also bears a pinch in common with nonfiction movies like One Lucky Elephant and No Room For Rockstars, which at least partially document marginalized subcultures (a traveling circus and the Vans Warped Tour, respectively). Viewers might come for the fisticuffs, but be pleasantly surprised at gaining a real window into its protagonists' souls. It's the equivalent of an unexpectedly delightful conversation with a potluck-seated dinner companion with whom you thought you might have nothing in common. For the full, original review, from ShockYa, click here. (MPI Media Group, 85 minutes, unrated)