The Movie Moments Homepage / Reviews & More

Blood Circus (2017) Review

Blood Circus is a 2017 action thriller about a former MMA champ who has lost just about everything, looking to turn his life around when he’s given a chance to compete in a deadly tournament.

There’s something very appealing about down on their luck fighters in movies, their hard-scrabble life outside the ring the metaphorical battle that makes their brawls in the ring all the more impactful. The list is almost endless from Rocky to Creed and everything in-between. Now comes Jacob Cooney‘s Blood Circus, a dark and seedy story that uses MMA as a backdrop, and while parts are undeniably familiar, there’s plenty to get behind in this Indie thriller.

Sean “THE KILLIN'” Dillon (Jamie Nocher) was once a popular and successful mixed-martial arts fighter, living the dream both inside and outside the ring, married to a beautiful woman named Sherry (Christy Carlson Romano), together having a son. However, he’s lost it all, disgraced from the sport, divorced and now barely making ends meet. He still hangs about the bar where Sherry works, trying to earn back what he’s lost, but his constant squabbling and fighting with customers only makes it worse. His best friend is Jake (Tom Sizemore), a detective who struggles to keep Sean on the straight and narrow, but it’s a losing battle. Pressed to a corner, Sean’s approached by a man named Deke (Robert LaSardo) who offers Sean a lot of money to bring his rage into an underground online-audience-only fighting tourney called the ‘Blood Circus,’ only realizing too late that its contestants fight to the death. With no choice, he takes to the ‘rules’ but finds that winning only leads him to the real nightmare.

The thing that has made every good boxing and in-the-ring movie connect with audiences as never been the fighting, no matter how good or effective or convincing the punching is. It’s the characters, and if we don’t identify with them, then the fighting means nothing. You think Rocky Balboa got to be our favorite because he wins fights? Not at all. Cooney, and writer Eric Weinstock seem to understand this enough, painting Sean into a proper corner from the start and leaving him appropriately trapped. Wisely, the fighting isn’t the hook, even as there are a few well-staged and filmed contests. We eventually meet a man named Santos, played mostly off-screen by Kevin Nash, the ringleader of the circus, who takes drastic action of his own on Sean, and the film becomes less about the blows to the face and more about those to the heart, forcing Sean to finish what he’s started.

Blood Circus
Blood Circus, 2017 © Sweeney Photography

Cooney, who is churning out movies at a furious rate this year, including the very good Pitching Tents, delivers again, once more with Sizemore in his cast – himself appearing in more than 25 released and upcoming films this year and next. Sizemore has a significant part here and makes good on the role as the crusty cop, bringing his now signature gruff with him. Sizemore has always made watching him a challenge, and that’s no less true here. Nocher is convincing, if a little stiff, but has presence, especially while fighting, though it’s Romano who does best. It’s certainly Sean’s story but it would have been nice seen more from her.

Blood Circus is a good looking film with Cooney’s attention to detail and unobtrusive storytelling style again proving he’s ready for bigger things. While the action is well done, I really liked the quieter moments that put more weight on Sean as a father and lover than a fighter. Another solid and entertaining film from this director, Blood Circus is one to keep your eyes on.

Blood Circus is releasing later this year, from producers Charles Lago, David Gere and Christopher Johnson. Production companies are DTLA Entertainment and Octane Entertainment.

Blood Circus (2017) Review

Movie description: Blood Circus is a 2017 action thriller about a former MMA champ who has lost just about everything, looking to turn his life around when he's given a chance to compete in a deadly tournament.

Director(s): Jacob Cooney

Actor(s): Jamie Nocher, Tom Sizemore, Robert LaSardo

Genre: Action

  • Our Score
User Rating 0 (0 votes)
You might also like