What started out as a good premise ultimately is marred by shoddy action in this independent action drama.
Will (Zeb Crown) is a older teen who has been in trouble for far too long. Constantly getting into fights, he goes from one foster home to another. However, his world is about to be turned upside down when he arrives at his latest foster home.
His latest foster father Bob (Casey Clark) may seem like a nice guy, but he is not at that he seems to be. Even worse, Will gets a taste of jealousy from his new brother Paul (Blake Logan). Will soon finds himself entering the world of bare knuckle brawling as Bob only fosters to get potential fighters. As Will makes himself known, he gets Bob’s praise, but the fire between foster brothers are at an all-time high. However, as Will continues to fight, he finds himself in some situations that make him question what he is doing. Will he find it to break out of the fight or he will be trapped in a potentially dangerous world?
Shot in Orlando, Florida, this had the potential to be quite a decent action drama. Writer/director Keith Alan Morris has written a good script with an interesting premise. With the lack of background checks these days, how could a young man find himself in a home only to be used for fighting? It’s been done in other films, notably UNLEASHED (2005). However, for an independent film, this is not too bad. What has to be said is that the core cast members playing the “kids” are obviously in their 20′s but their acting fits the role well.
Lead actor Zeb Crown does well in his role of the troubled Will. While he engages in fighting, he also finds himself willing to help out his abused next door neighbor by giving her his cut of the money. For this type of film, this act of heroism may be the saving grace of the film as it tends to be more than a simple hero trying to get out of the dangerous life he has dealt with.
While the premise is good, it is the action that could be a whole lot better. Instead of flashy martial arts moves, we deal with fast brawl out knuckling with some grappling mixed in at times. While sometimes the action looks decent, it mostly suffers from close ups and quick cuts, an all-too familiar problem with action in films. Even the more disappointing is the final fight Will engages in. It seems a bit too short and it is the action that disappoints overall in the film.
Despite a good story, the lack of good action to complement the story makes GUTTER KING one for the gutters. However, writer and director Keith Alan Morris does have the potential to be a good independent action filmmaker. Let’s hope he will delve into combining his premises with exciting action next time around.