From the director who brought you Beast Stalker (证人) and The Stool Pigeon (线人), Unbeatable (激战) is an enjoyable, entertaining, heartfelt character-driven action sports drama film about facing fear and conquering one's hardships in life.
While the film offers nothing new for the genre and there's striking similarities here and there with other films such as 'Rocky', 'Never Back Down', 'A Fighter's Blues', it's the overall great cast performances, the very heart and soul of the film that alleviates it from being a mediocre action film. The film emphasized drama over the fight scenes and the occasional humour managed to provide some relief as the film takes time to provide more character development and fight scenes throughout the film.
Both Eddie Peng and Nick Cheung have shown their utmost dedication from their physical and combat training to fit the roles for the fight scenes in the film. Their mentor-student relationship and camaraderie is also clearly depicted throughout the film as well. The training montage shown throughout the film such as tractor tire lifting, the numerous locking, striking and grappling techniques, boxing, weight training were all wonderfully shot.
However, the MMA fight scenes were poorly executed as the director used close-up, quick zoom in-out camera techniques to shot them. Moreover, the portrayal of MMA as a brutal and most likely fatal combat sport is very misleading, and the money gambling shown in the film makes it even worst. The belly-to-back suplex move shown in the film is dangerous and would potentially kill your opponent, normally it's considered as an illegal move and shouldn't be used in a tournament. The MMA rules are not properly shown or explained in the film. Some of the plot points are not further clarified and resolved by the end of the film.
Nevertheless, the action does provide some intense moments, some sense of urgency required in an action film to the audience and keeps the film constantly engaging despite a running time of nearly 2 hours. A recommended watch.