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The Fighter

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Based on the supposedly true story of the French soldier who brought kickboxing to the American West, The Fighter is a Shane remake that apparently never made it to Jean-Claude Van Damme’s agent. 90210‘s Ian Ziering even shows up in the Van Heflin role, except that this young settler gets blown away so that star Oliver Gruner can romance his young widow (Ashley Laurence). In a plot twist that borders on parody, it turns out that the local land baron (R. Lee Ermey) sponsors his own fighting tournaments, which gives the hero a chance to save the old homestead. For all the anachronistic costuming and predictability, you have to admire The Fighter (which made its debut on cable earlier this year) for adding at least one new wrinkle to a tired formula: a kickboxer who kicks an opponent in the shins. C+