By : Chris Tribbey | Posted: 03 Feb 2010
GRAND TERRACE, Calif. — The fighters on hand for the screening of Unrivaled had a lot of jokes about some of the less-than-great mixed martial arts films that have been released in recent years.
But every one of them had nothing but praise for this one, which gets DVD ($26.98) and Blu-ray Disc ($29.99) releases March 16 (order date Feb. 17) from Lionsgate and Grindstone Entertainment.
And, well, you’d have to have a death wish to argue with them.
“We tried to film it in a way you haven’t seen before for mixed martial arts,” said director Warren Sonoda. “It looks like $20 million. With the talent we have, we were really able to knock it out of the park.”
That talent includes former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) champs Rashad “Sugar” Evans and Forrest Griffin, current UFC Light Heavyweight champ Keith “The Dean of Mean” Jardine and Nate “The Great” Marquardt. They join Hector Echavarria (Never Surrender) in a story about a down-on-his-luck pit fighter who gets a chance of a lifetime to compete for the Mixed Martial Arts world championship.
UFC referee John McCarthy said Unrivaled features the top talent in mixed martial arts, “top flight fighters that have been part of some of the biggest fights ever.”
There are busted teeth and broken bones, chase scenes and love stories, and even beautiful women knocking heads around.
“Even I got into the action,” said actress Jordan Madley (The Tuxedo). “It’s not just a fighting film, though it is Rocky for mixed martial arts.”
“At the end of the day, we wanted viewers to appreciate that we got it right,” said producer Sean Buckley. “And this is Hector’s finest performance. We trusted him, and he didn’t let us down.”
Stan Wertieb, Grindstone Entertainment Group’s head of acquisitions, said fighting fans “will be really impressed.”
“The director just had an idea for this movie that was so different from other mixed martial arts films that have been made,” said Barry Brooker, president and CEO of Grindstone. “The closest thing I can compare it to is The Wrestler.”
Lionsgate didn’t scrimp on the bonus features: Mixed martial arts fans will find a commentary with Sonoda and Buckley, a behind-the-scenes featurette, interviews with several of the fighters, and featurettes about the anatomy of the film’s chase scene and the fight choreography.
“Lionsgate always does a masterful job with the extras,” Buckley said.
From left, actress Monique Ganderton, actress Jordan Madley, Stan Wertieb, Grindstone Entertainment Group's head of acquisitions, director Warren Sonoda, producer Sean Buckley, and Barry Brooker, president and CEO of Grindstone.