Small-town boy Shawn MacArthur (Channing Tatum) has come to New York City with nothing. Barely earning a living selling counterfeit goods on the streets, his luck changes when scam artist Harvey Boarden (Terrence Howard) sees that he has a natural talent
If it weren’t for the fact that it stars Channing Tatum, the whitest man in America, this would qualify as a blaxploitation movie. The soundtrack constantly lifts cuts from ’70s quickies like Trouble Man, and Terrence Howard does his hustler act as the New York character who helps whitebread, homeless ex-wrestling champ Tatum get out of hawking knock-off Harry Potter books in the streets, and into the world of extreme dirty fighting. The title says it all — Tatum has a series of fights, and woos a cute waitress (Zulay Henao) with the sort of mumbling Sylvester Stallone perfected back in the first Rocky. It features obvious plot developments (will Tatum throw the big grudge fight?), gimmicky thumpfests and off-the-peg characters, but Howard and arch-rival Luis Guzmán exchange some acting moments.
By the book boxing fair, but with extreme dirty fighting. Cliches abound.