I'm not really much of a Mixed Martial Arts fan to tell the truth. I watch professional wrestling (a man deserves his guilty pleasures, okay?) and I had a passing interest in Mixed Martial Arts in my teen years, but that's it. So I'm not really aware of "Tapout" or whatever it is, other than the fact that 1.) I see guys wearing "Tapout"shirts in town (and I've seen them in Wal Mart) and 2.) That they've released several Straight to DVD movies via Lionsgate, those purveyors of bad exploitation trash on DVD. So It was only a matter of time until I watched one of these movies, and I decided to go with "Circle of Pain", which while better than other "Tapout Presents..." ventures, is still a terrible movie.
Dalton Hunt (Tony Schiena) is a retired fighter whose been living a quiet life. Thing is, Colin "The Brick" Wahle (Heath Herring) is about to beat his record. So thanks to his pal Wyatt (Dean "I was Superman and now I can't get a role worth a damn" Cain) that he put in a wheelchair and the villainous director of a MMA company named Victoria Rualan (Bai Ling) telling him he has to, Dalton must come out of retirement to battle Wahle.
One of the things that's really noteworthy about "Circle of Pain" (and other "Tapout Presents..." movies") is how cheap the whole thing looks. The production values aren't exactly shot on video bad, but they essentially resemble those of a soft core skin flick. Also notable is that like it's predecessors, the movie suddenly becomes something of a soft core flick, with sex scenes thrown in for no reason whatsoever other than to pad out time. Apart from that, little if anything stands out in this movie, which is amateurishly directed by Daniel Zirilli, features few if any invigorating fight or action scenes, and is guilty of false advertising (the movie advertises Kimbo Slice as the star, but he's only in the film for two scenes.)
Also, the acting is (as expected) terrible. Look, people pay to watch these guys beat the tar out of each other, not for their acting skills (though Herring at least seems to be having fun.) Dean Cain (who must curse the name of Terri Hatcher every day of his life) in particular is bad, seeming to be bored and uninterested as if he's only doing this for the paycheck. Hell, the only reason this isn't getting a 0/10 is because of Bai Ling. An underrated actress (with credits including "The Crow", "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" and "The Beautiful Country"), she seems to know what kind of movie this is, and plays the villain to a hammy T, delivering the only fun performance in the movie.
As a whole, there is not reason whatsoever to watch "Circle of Pain", which doesn't feel like something made for MMA fans as much as it feels like a cheap cash grab. I do wish that Tapout and Lionsgate would stop releasing these movies, but it's obviously not going to happen anytime soon.
Apart from this, Daniel Zirilli has also directed "Voodoo Tailz" and "Curse of Alcatraz." You watch them-I don't dare to.