I always found it ridiculous when I heard people criticize the media for inciting violence. I laughed off the talk that music, movies or video games drove people to act negatively because it removed personal accountability. I found the argument to be a ruse used by prudish folk whose real agenda was to ban material they didn’t like since they could never explain why everyone else around the world that listened to the same songs, watched the same movies or played the same games didn’t act out in a similar fashion. I myself have listened to Ozzy Osbourne’s “Suicide Solution”, watched Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange and played Grand Theft Auto without ever lashing out against society or myself.
However, my thoughts on the matter have changed now that I have sat through the two DVDs in the Extreme Chickfights series. After viewing them, I was filled with a rage, a rage that could only be satiated by beating the hell out of the producers who wasted my time with this fraudulent endeavor. Not only did they assemble a pathetic collection of fights, but the entire production is aesthetically offensive due to the amateurish way it was put together.
The fights take place in warehouses and backyards around Los Angeles. The fighters get paid different amounts of money depending on the level of protection they are willing wear: gloves and headgear, gloves, or bare knuckle. I was expecting to see some legitimate competition between females serious about fighting. Aside from a couple of women who knew how to handle themselves in the ring, the fighters are women looking to make an easy buck, poor saps who have to work several days to make this kind of money and wasted college girls thinking that fighting might be fun. One bout had combatants who were pot-smoking friends and another had family members competing against each other.
Plenty of the girls seemed to have no idea what they were in for. Some threw punches by flicking their wrists while turning their head 180 degrees away from their opponent. They didn’t know how to fight or pace themselves, causing a lot of lulls in the action. I began to watch the DVDs at double speed and still found the fights boring. Almost all were completely out of shape, running out of gas before the end of round one, including one who kept vomiting throughout the fight. She immediately smoked a cigarette after she won, which should give you an idea about her competition.
A few of the fights ended in the first round after a fighter would quit upon receiving her first good punch in the face. The producers had the audacity to label these fights “1st Round Beat-Downs”. A fight that is stopped by the EMT because a woman’s eyebrow is split open and bleeding is not the same thing as a fighter quitting after getting tagged on the beak with a boxing glove. In fact, it’s an insult to those who take fighting seriously.
Aside from the head-splitting, the only other fight that had some entertainment was the two-on-one battle that saw a fourth fighter jump into the ring and bloody one girl’s nose with a sneak attack from behind. It was funny but that’s not enough for two hours of material.
Of course, the lame fights aren’t the only cause for my dislike because they were presented in a poor manner as well. The crew used handheld cameras and ran around inside the ring, providing shaky images and getting too close to see anything. Sometimes, the footage didn’t cut together well between the cameras because one was color-balanced for indoor lighting and the other for sunlight, so the visuals contrasted. The hosts are a couple of jackass kids who mock the losers. These scrawny punks would receive a beating from most of the women participating and I wish they had. Enrique, the referee, acts like these are good fights, illustrating that he doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about. The DJ was very annoying. I understand he was probably limited in what he could play due to licensing agreements, but there was too much repetition of the same sounds. The whole experience became relentless and aggravating.
I’m baffled by the entire project. I don’t understand why the producers would think there is a market for these boring fights. I have no doubt it’s hard to find female fighters, but the audience for this type of material wants either sex or violence, preferably both, and they don’t get either other than a rare good punch or a quickly revealed breast. The people who are entertained by violence and exploitation will not enjoy this snoozefest.
I also wondered if these are really underground fights, then they are illegal because they haven’t been sanctioned by the state, so why draw attention to them? One of the producers of Bumfights was charged and convicted of conspiracy to stage an illegal fight. If only they can be charged with stealing two hours of my life, then justice will truly be served.
El Bicho is a member of The Masked Movie Snobs