The Fight Within: Will You Turn? (Movie Review)

John FarrellBy John Farrell6 Minutes

Regardless of your past, God loves you. No matter how many crimes you’ve committed, God will forgive you. Despite how far you have strayed from Him, God is always waiting with open arms for you to return to him.

Why? Because you’re His creation and He loves us all … no matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done.

The path back isn’t always easy. Walking away from your past lifestyle and all the trappings that come with it is going to be filled with myriad roadblocks and diversions, but it’s worth it in the end. When you turn your back on your past and return to God’s side, that’s when everything changes. Your life changes not because it has to, but because you want it to.

In the 2016 film, The Fight Within, MMA fighter Logan Chandler (John Major Davis) struggles with his identity and finding his place in the world after losing his father. He’s not proud of who he is because of who he was. All he needs is a little guidance and encouragement to turn over a new life and start down a different path.

Struggling with the Past

Rich Chandler (Dan Severn) was a champion MMA fighter and expected his youngest son to follow in his footsteps, perhaps pushing him a little too hard at times. When the elder Chandler unexpectedly dies, with their mom out of the picture, he leaves the gym to his two sons. Mason (Mike H. Taylor) takes over the day-to-day operations and trains fighters while Logan finishes college and trains young fighters.

One day in ethics class, Logan meets Emma (Lelia Symington), a student with a passion for missionary work, especially orphanages in Mozambique. After an in-class discussion on whether there is a definitive wrong or right in the universe, she asks Logan in the hallway to clarify something he said earlier, “Are people only good when it’s convenient? What makes people do bad things?”

Logan’s response: “People make bad choices.”

It’s his past choices and actions that leave Logan wrestling with who he is and where he belongs. He feels guilty for his dad’s death. His guilt causes him to walk away from the only thing he’s ever known – MMA fighting. He was a rising star in the MMA circles, one win away from turning professional.

With the gym struggling financially, Mason is eager to jump at the opportunity to make some good money when promoters for an upcoming MMA event approach him about working together to promote the fight. The promoters want the gym’s resident bad guy and best fighter Hayden Dressler (Matt Leddo) to fight in the main event. The only catch is they want Logan to face him.

Realizing what this could do for his career and his wallet, Hayden is up for it; however, Logan isn’t sold on the idea. As far as he’s concerned, he’s stepped away from the cage and has no interest in getting back in it. Everyone at the gym, including Hayden and Mason, thinks Logan is too scared to fight.

Fighting for Today

While outside running one day, Logan runs into an old man he’s spoken to several times before. The man is a devout Christian who speaks often about God’s love for his children. Logan asks the man whether God was okay with his fighting.

The man’s response is both profound and true: “God don’t care if you fight. God don’t care if a man’s black or white, rich or poor. What God cares about is in a man’s heart. And that fight, young man, the fight that’s in all men, it’s their fight with God. Is He real? Does He love me? Why do I need Him? All those type of questions. Questions they use to try and reject Him. That fight, young man, only ends when a man surrenders to Him.”

Meanwhile, Logan and Emma’s relationship continues to develop. But, as he is drawn more and more into Emma’s life and circle of friends, he learns that through Jesus’ sacrifice he can have a new life. He also realizes that there is freedom in Christ if he simply turns to Him. God has a plan for everyone; however, most people are too worried about themselves to let God work through them.

The great news for everyone is that Christ will grant us a new start, a new purpose, and a new life, but we have to be willing to turn from our old identity and our old way of life and turn to Christ in faith. Will you turn?

With realistic, well-choreographed MMA fight scenes, The Fight Within will interest men looking for an action-packed movie, while also appealing to women wanting something with more of a romantic feel. It’s the perfect date-night flick for those couples who can never agree on a movie.