“The King of Queens”, Kevin James, co-wrote and stars in this comedy that revolves around inspiration and a boatload of mixed martial arts action.
Scott Voss (James) was once the Teacher of the Year in 2002. However, he has been relegated to losing vacation time for constantly showing up to his class late. Scott even feels like a loser when he is persistent in asking out and being rejected by nurse Bella (Salma Hayek). However, things are about to change at his school.
When it is announced that the school has to go through budget cuts, the music program is in jeopardy. This proves to be very troublesome for music teacher extraordinaire Marty Straub (Henry Winkler). Scott, who has become friends with Marty, decides he must raise $48,000 to save the music program. One night, Scott and his friends are watching an Ultimate Fighting Championship match. When Scott learns that even the losers are paid, he decides to become a mixed martial arts fighter.
With the guidance of Nico (Bas Rutten), a former fighter from the Netherlands who is attempting citizenship in the U.S., Scott learns to attempt to lose with dignity. However, a fire sparks in Scott and soon, he begins to win. However, when he is given a big opportunity to make his UFC debut, Scott must make a decision whether to lose with his dignity, or go for it all and win.
Mixed martial arts is truly been the craze in today’s martial arts cinema. Kevin James is a great comic actor who, many may not know, is a martial arts admirer. He credited an eighty-pound weight loss partly to kickboxing. Following the mixed martial arts trend, James co-wrote and stars in this comedy that brings a theme similar to the Korean wrestling comedy THE FOUL KING (2000). James pulls off his usual brand of comedy in the role of a loser biology teacher who soon realizes his passion again for teaching once he becomes a mixed martial arts fighter.
Aiding James in the comedy department are the great Henry Winkler as the music teacher whose job James is trying to save and Salma Hayek as the nurse who constantly ignores James’ advances. Surprisingly, MMA legend Bas Rutten pulls off some comic flair as Nico, a Dutch ex-fighter who becomes James’ mentor and good friend. Rutten also does well as a MMA mentor, teaching James the basics of defense and then using counters and submissions.
The MMA action itself starts out a bit comical, but towards the second half, it actually bodes quite decent. As mentioned, James is a martial arts admirer and he proves he trained hard for this film. Aside from his training sequences with Rutten, James does quite well once he starts winning. Some nice slow motion and not much extreme close ups, a problem with loads of Hollywood action films, shows that this film does well in the MMA action. Even James’ final bout against UFC fighter Krzysztof Soszynski proves to have a bit of inspiration for someone who at first wants to lose, but then realizes he must win for not only everyone, but himself as well. Kudos goes to stunt coordinator Garrett Warren and his team for making these fights look pretty damn good.
If you are a Kevin James fan and love mixed martial arts, it is definitely okay to at least rent HERE COMES THE BOOM. Sure, the film is mainly a comedy, but the MMA action combines comic flair and some pretty decent ring fighting from James. In an added note, it is interesting to see former fighter Bas Rutten in a comic-style role.