In Cagefighter: Worlds Collide, Reiss Gibbons (actor and BAMMA MMA fighter Alex Montagnani) is on the cusp of cementing himself as the greatest to ever step inside the LEGENDS cage. With five title defences under his belt, a beautiful wife (Georgia Bradner), endless deals from his agent (Elijah Baker), and the support of his coach and mentor (UFC Hall of Famer Chuck Liddell), Reiss has it all.
But when a savvy promoter (Gina Gershon) pits him against pro wrestling superstar, Randy Stone (AEW Champion Jon Moxley) in the company’s first-ever cross-promotional event, Reiss finds himself in the toughest fight of his life. Adding to the drama are a charismatic MMA podcaster ( WWE’s Jay “Christian” Reso) and a flashy MMA coach (former UFC champ Luke Rockhold).
Like Quinones and Montagnani explained to us, MMA and wrestling have been crossing roads for nearly 25 years. If Reiss is a pure MMA fighter, Stone is from the wrestling business, something Quinones is able to make us forget through the cage action. With Montagnani, a former fighter turned actor, as stunt choreographer, the action looks perfectly fluid and shows the frontier between the two sports is very tight. Jon Moxley is the same “rock ‘n’ roll character” in the movie than he can be in the squared circle, something his fans will adore.
We couldn’t help to compare the plot to the Rocky series, with the idea of the redemption of a man who had it all, lost it all and then tries to find his way back to success. We have seen that hundreds of times in movies. Then, in that universe, this allows showing what lies behind those businesses, how the Champions are “made”, and the influential aspect of media in order to raise the stakes and give exposure to competitors.
Reiss is not climbing famous the ‘Rocky’ steps of Philadelphia, of course, but the way he looks at London towers is very symbolistic of the greatness he thinks he has reached with his title belts. Quinones opposes those moments to the darkness in which Reiss confines himself to reflect on his career and face a certain reality coming from it. And that works perfectly.
Being a fighter is a state of mind, but it’s also a job. It brings Reiss the money, the glory, the fame, the belts. But what remains when they all fly away? One injury, one instant can take everything away from a cage fighter. These highs and lows are perfectly described by Quinones, a true fan of both MMA and wrestling, and also Alex Montagnani who completely loses himself into the part and gives something so fragile, probably because he comes from that fighting business. If worlds are colliding in this movie, the sports one can’t be eluded by the collision of “real” worlds. Being a fighter is not preventing from being a man, a husband, a father. A good person, in fact.
Special mentions to Chuck Liddell who is absolutely remarkable as Reiss’ trainer, Jon Moxley, excellent in his first leading part, and Gina Gershon who excels as Max Black, a kind of female version of UFC owner, Dana White. Although, seeing wrestlers doing cameos under their real names was something unnecessary.
Cagefighter: Worlds Collide is not only a movie for wrestling or MMA fans. It is made for any human being who believes in the fact everything is possible in life. You can be a Champion in a ring or a cage, the essential is for you to be the Champion of your own life.
Dir: Jesse Quinones
Scr: Jesse Quinones
Cast: Alex Montagnani, Jon Moxley, Gina Gershon, Chuck Liddell, Jay Reso, Brenna Coates, Lowell Dean, Elijah Baker, Rigan Machado, Luke Rockhold
Prd: Shayne Putzlocher, Sara Shaak, Jay Reso, Jesse Quinones
DoP: Mark Dobrescu
Country: United Kingdom/Canada
Run time: 93 minutes