Fightworld

TV review by
Jenny Nixon, Common Sense Media
Fightworld TV Poster Image
Martial arts docuseries has some intense images.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Interviews touch on values such as perseverance, integrity, courage, self-improvement. Show covers diverse cross-section of people from all around the globe who all want to improve their lives and to do a good job representing their community.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Series offers intimate look at hard work, perseverance it takes to be a real fighter. Many of the fighters -- who include some very tough and dedicated women -- come from disenfranchised groups, are seeking to better themselves and their families' lives through hard work.

Violence

Rough blows and kicks galore; some footage of post-fight facial injuries that borders on voyeuristic. Most episodes focus on fighting as sport, but fifth episode takes place in Israel, where we learn about Krav Maga, other techniques used by Israeli Army in real combat. Shots of Israeli soldiers holding rifles, and a one-on-one training session where host learns how to disarm someone holding a gun or knife (both weapons shown).

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Discussion of substance abuse issues being the impetus behind a fighter's decision to get in the ring and change her life.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Fightworld is a documentary series hosted by actor and lifelong martial arts enthusiast Frank Grillo (The Purge: Anarchy, Wheelman). It examines the different fighting styles unique to various countries and goes into the backstories of the trainees and the pros featured. Some fighters talk about devoting themselves to the gym as a way of escaping a rough home life or drug and alcohol problems. There's a lot of training footage with varying levels of intensity and violence. In some countries, wearing boxing gloves is the norm -- in others, fighters are bare-knuckled and barefoot. Viewers see the aftermath of a rough fight, with some intimate footage showing a fighter's bloody, swollen, and battered face. Most episodes focus on fighting as an athletic endeavor, but it's important to note that the episode focused on Israeli fighters talks about the use of martial arts in war, and army members and trainers are pictured brandishing guns and knives.

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What's the story?

FIGHTWORLD follows grizzled character actor Frank Grillo -- who happens to be a longtime martial arts devotee offscreen -- on a global journey to interview fighters and trainers about the sports they love. Region by region, Grillo explores and examines what makes each area's fighting style unique, and what drives its practitioners to enter the ring in the first place.

Is it any good?

You don't necessarily have to be a fan of martial arts yourself to get into this docuseries, thanks in large part to the contagious enthusiasm of its host. Grillo starts each episode giving a bit of history about the regions he's visiting -- Mexico City, Thailand, Myanmar, Senegal, and Israel are all featured in the first season -- talking about the fighting styles native to the area, and interviewing both aspiring hopefuls as well as veterans of the sport. As an actor, he's always been pretty darn believable as a tough guy, and watching this series makes you understand why. Grillo's respect for this world is palpable and passionate, so much so that he isn't afraid to jump in the ring and get his hands dirty with the people he's learning from. Fightworld also features some seriously beautiful high-def camera work that makes it feel at times like an artful travel show, not just a gritty boxing documentary, which makes it all the more appealing for those who may be on the fence about watching based on subject matter alone.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what the various fighting styles featured in Fightworld have in common, and what makes them different. Did you find one style more appealing than others? If so, what is it that you enjoy about it?

  • What do you think of the way Grillo embeds himself with the local fighters as he interviews them about their region's fighting styles? How might this (literally) hands-on experience give him a different perspective on the sport?

  • Talk about the reasons many people from poverty-stricken areas seem to turn to martial arts as a means to escape their circumstances and elevate their families. What makes this an appealing option for them?

TV details

For kids who love action

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