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Craig S. (InnerMacro) from WAUSAU, WI Reviewed on 1/11/2022...
A barely coherent plot ties together a gym teacher, his younger brother who plans to go pro (in football? track? not sure), twin martial artists who pretend to be the same guy and apparently tag out during matches to stay fresh(?) and no one notices, and a journalist who enjoys recreational horseback riding(?) when under 24 hour deadlines and is also working with the police(?) to take down the underground fighting ring. The tagline says 'No rules. No limits. No survivors' and Olivier Gruner plays the part of Dirk Longstreet, the only fighter on the underground circuit to have been undefeated and escape the long arm of the organized crime ring that runs it. But based upon the established rules of the tagline, Dirk would HAVE to be undefeated if he survived at all . . . because there are no survivors - remember?
The tagline should be appended to include 'No defense.' because apparently none of the fighters in this movie practice blocking the opponent's blows. Likewise, it would seem that Gruner's strategy is to stand stupidly while the opponent wears himself out, then suddenly move in with a submission hold in very anti-climactic fashion. Apparently, there are two sequels to this movie - how this was managed I cannot comprehend. Bonus points for anyone who can place whatever accent Gruner's love interest is attempting use in the movie. I wasn't sure if it was Brooklyn or Johannesburg, but it wasn't very good or consistent. Overall, a confusing movie with boring choreography and an over-long training sequence with no decent soundtrack.
Gruner is back !
Matthew R. Huston | Indiana, USA | 06/07/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Dirk Longstreet (Olivier Gruner) is the former champion of The Circuit, an underground fighting society. He is the only man to ever make it out unscathed. Dirk is now a University coach with a great reputation. However, he now finds that he must return after his brother, Jeremy, gets in trouble after placing some high bets at The Circuit. Dirk then must step into the ring once again against the newer, younger, "Unbeatable Kwan" (James & Simon Kim). The wait is over, Olivier Gruner is finally back after nearly a 3-year hiatus as playing the lead in his movies. The fighting scenes were very well done, coordinated by both Olivier Gruner and Jalal Merhi. All of the fighters were seemingly professionals, giving the fight scenes a very polished look. The movie is not without its flaws though, most noticeable is that in the the first 15 minutes the music and background noise drains out the dialogue making it hard to understand what characters are saying at times. The plot overall is nothing special for the movies genre, but who wants to reinvent the wheel? Just stick with the tried and true formula and that is what they did.Another aspect of the movie is that it has romantic-comedy sub-plot. I am sure some of the female Olivier Gruner fans will enjoy this as a change from some of his other roles. Lastly, you will see Olivier's dog Murphy play a role in the movie, he was also seen in TNT and Savage.Overall, I am very happy with the release of the movie. Hopefully this is a taste of things to come from Olivier Gruner. If you pick-up the DVD version, the Trailer for the movie comes along with a very nice menu screen with a very cool graphic and some nice music. The only disappointing part in my oppinion is the final fight scene, it doesn't really show that Gruner is that great of a fighter.Score: 4/5"
He is back and wack
David L. Larsen | norway | 06/19/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"this ,ovie sucks. really... it is so bad that it is funny to whatch. the fighting is bad (it looks like olivier is stressed when he fights.) the dorector is weak (how come every movie that jalal make is worse then the last?) dont buy this, dont rent it, make sure u have second thoughts if it goes on cable"
One of the best, of the more recent, of its kind
dominion_ruler | Carolina, USA | 09/27/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The era of "B-grade American-made martial arts movies" ended around the mid to late 90's. Since then its hard to find any of these films, especially any of somewhat decent quality. Fortunately, the genre has not gone completely extinct and here is a fine example of one of the best still to survive - The Circuit, which thankfully, also produced a decent sequal.
One of the best things I like about The Circuit is the overall quailty of the film. Oliver Grunner adds a freshness to martial arts films as the main character. His acting and fighting skills are up there with the best of them for this kind of movie. The other actors, including the villain (or should I say villains, played by "The Tiger Twins") are decent too. The film quailty, directing, sound and music is all above par. The fights are great too. I like the arena where the illegal tournaments take place - somewhat of an outdoors Medieval Times looking arena, but it works.
Lots of fights throughout the film to please, mostly between a group of various opponents in the arena. The final fight was really cool and original. I won't say exactly what happens, but it involves the Tiger Twins. I loved it.
The Circuit is just wonderful, an above average B-grade movie for sure. Check out its sequal too, not quite as good but still delivers high quailty action. I hope more movies are made like this in the future to come. "
I can't believe Jalal Merhi made a watchable movie
morgoth | omaha, NE | 11/24/2006
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Now first of all I was realy stuck between a 2 and a 3 but the movie just gets too freaking stupid.
So Jalal Merhi directs this movie. The same guy you may remember as the little Iranian guy who started acting in B-action movies in the early 90's. So Oliver Gruner stars as a gym teacher for track stars at a college, I think so at least, they don't exactly dwell on that. So he has a student(his brother) and it just so happens that these guys who are sitting in a car looking for fighters are scoping him out and notice Oliver. Just so happens that they all recognize him and whadda ya know, he was an undefeated fighter in a kumite type thing they call "The Circuit". Not the most original name and it isn't like they try to say they are inventing something. This movie really doesn't have a beginning, it just sort of happens. So basically Oliver's brother is forced to fight in the circuit and then Oliver has to go fight and save him. Now the fights are pretty fun to watch. Billy's Blanks's brother Michael gets in some great kicks and the villian is pretty good. Of course though Oliver is the man. He is usually a really flashy kicker but doesn't really get to display much of that in this movie. With this film being made around 2001 they incorporated a lot of MMA type of fighting. I thought it was a great touch to have training sequences for Oliver though they could have been a lot better.
Now the movie was a bit below average but the fight scenes really make it. Unfortunately with Merhi directing this the end involves people hitting Oliver over and over and then before he is about to be hit for the 12th time, he makes his move and defeats his opponent. This goes on for like 3 fights and just gets a bit boring to say the least. The final fight is outrageously stupid and I won't spoil it for you but I hope that you at least have a good laugh about it like it did.
The DVD release it outstanding. Extended interviews with cast and crew and a commentary with the director, composer, and the editor. Unfortunately I found it really boring. Odd to see this amount of good special features but still nice to see. 5.1 sound is also decent."