German-born martial arts ace Mike Möller stars and directs this action packed film about one man’s shot at revenge against the gang responsible for his brother’s murder.
What is interesting is that most of the film is told in flashback. Mikey, played by Möller, is a fighter who is in prison. After fighting an opponent, he sits in his cell and it is there that we learn of his story.
Mikey was a biker skilled in boxing while his brother Mathis (Mathis Landwehr) was skilled in martial arts. Mathis taught Mikey some moves, which enabled him to take on members of their rivals. However, when Mikey learns that Mathis was killed by the Bloods and their leader, Slater (Volker Zschiesche), Mikey intends to get revenge. The problem is Mikey does not have the skills necessary to exact revenge. When he meets a former fighter turned recluse, he becomes a spiritual mentor to Mikey as he physically pushes himself to the limit.
With the support of his friends, Mikey begins to enter a series of street fights in which he is pushed to the limit. At first, he doesn’t do so well, but as he continues training, he becomes an excellent fighter and eventually gets his name known. He enters an underground martial arts tournament pitting himself against opponents skilled in various forms of martial arts. He considers Slater and the Bloods his final obstacle and will do whatever it takes to make sure he avenges his brother’s death, no matter the cost.
Mike Möller got his start as a stuntman whose skills in martial arts are top notch. While he has appeared primarily in TV and film in his native Germany, he can be seen in other productions, including HALF PAST DEAD (2002) and COWEB (2009). This film, in which Möller stars, wrote, produced, and directed, may seem like an extended showreel. However, it is not the case as he gives the other cast members a chance to show their skills on the screen.
With the central character of Mikey, we learn of his transformation from a biker gangster with long brown hair to the excelled short blond haired fighter he becomes. The whole flashback scenario works well here as we learn Mikey’s motive for revenge. The training sequences work well here, especially as we see Mikey progress from a boxer to a true martial artist who uses not only flips and kicks, but even adds a dose of MMA and lucha libre style wrestling in his repertoire.
Mikey’s friends in the film are not just good martial artists, but they even highlight some parkour in the mix. This culminates in a chase scene between Mikey’s friends and members of the Bloods, which mainly consist of parkour and freerunning. The tournament scene gives other cast members a chance to shine in a specialized style, from a Muay Thai boxer to an expert in Chinese kung fu. It is safe to say that Mikey is a mixed stylist as he uses anything he can from Tae Kwon Do to lucha libre. The Psycho Dog Brothers, led by Möller, did a fantastic job with the choreography.
The film has been released under the title STREET GANGS and will be released this month in the U.S. as ARENA OF THE STREET FIGHTER. In any case, URBAN FIGHTER is definitely a great action film and Mike Möller truly deserves a lead role in a future martial arts film. Definitely worth seeing.