Forget Jumanji, here is perhaps the best Dwayne Johnson film that almost no one knows – Cinema News

Who says Dwayne Johnson, says big budget action blockbuster. And yet, his best film falls into a somewhat different genre: if you don’t know “A Family in the Ring”, a catch-up session is in order!

In the early 2000s, almost no one would have thought that the wrestling superstar nicknamed The Rock would become one of Hollywood’s most in-demand stars. Today, Dwayne Johnson has a string of action blockbusters and opulent blockbusters, from Fast & Furious to Jumanji, including Black Adam for DC – to name a few.

But one of his films, perhaps his best, is a relatively unknown comedy-drama: A Family in the Ring (or Fighting With My Family of its original title), a biopic released in 2019 and directed by Stephen Merchant (The Office) that Dwayne Johnson produced by himself with his company Seven Bucks Productions, which tells the true story of the wrestling superstar known as Paige.

In A family in the ring, Ricky, former gangster, Julia, Paige and Zak are part of a family of wrestlers. The children, Paige and Zak, enter a World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) competition. Although talented, the two young people will have to fight, literally and figuratively, in order to become stars of this practice.

In the film, which stars Florence Pugh (Black Widow, Oppenheimer, Dune 2) in the lead role, Dwayne Johnson embodies… her own role and gives the protagonist valuable advice on her journey in the world of wrestling.

In a way, he returns to his wrestling roots with this biopic which is therefore a real passion project for him. And this is the most important element of the film. Eventually, Dwayne Johnson doesn’t need a big action spectacle or even a starring role to shine.

A raw drama with heart?

With his film in which he also stars, Stephen Merchant is inspired by the great films of the genre, such as Sylvester Stallone’s classic, Rocky.

It follows the rocky journey of Saraya-Jade Bevis, who eventually became known worldwide as Paige, as she makes her in-ring debut as a tough underdog and sets out to prove not only world, but also to her wrestling family – and above all to herself – that she has what it takes to go from faraway Norwich, in the East of England, to the WWE.

From the first scene, it is clear that what awaits us here is not a melancholic drama, but rather a highly entertaining comic drama telling the story of a family of misfits that we cannot help but love. love. When the father (Shaun Of The Dead star Nick Frost) angrily interrupts his children as they fight just to explain to them how to actually strangle someone, and the mother (Game of Dead star Lena Headey) Thrones) joins him: the tone is set.

Later, both children are now grown up – and promising wrestlers on the verge of potentially launching professional careers. But while Zak’s (Dunkirk’s Jack Lowden) childhood dream quickly comes to an end, Saraya (Florence Pugh) is offered the chance of a lifetime. A difficult situation which, despite all the comedy, creates a real family drama on edge.

Here, the storyline, the characters and their emotional world are so relevant that you could easily become part of this eccentric group yourself. Parents who project their dreams onto their children, brothers and sisters who take away your dream, and finally, the courage to take charge of your own life – all of this makes for A family in the ring a rollercoaster of emotions.

And note that it is not only the central family who always make us laugh but also Vince Vaughn (Serial Noceurs) who, as Paige’s instructor, plays his own version of Drill Sergeant Hartman from Full Metal Jacket and has fun clearly with his comments as nasty as they are funny.


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But the star of the film is undoubtedly Florence Pugh, who was already establishing herself even before becoming the star she is today. From Marvel to Oppenheimer by Christopher Nolan, through Dune: Part Two signed Denis Villeneuve, she is one of the most versatile actresses of her generation, having also excelled in films as diverse as Ari Aster’s cult horror film, Midsommar and Greta Gerwig’s historical drama, Les Filles du Doctor March. And in A family in the ring, she already demonstrates all her talent: on the one hand, she perfectly embodies a badass, daredevil and antisocial, and on the other, a vulnerable young woman who does not yet know who she really is. And then, of course, she also stands out for her physical performance: she is powerful there, literally.

A family in the ring, it’s ultimately an entertaining and light-hearted coming-of-age drama, with a healthy dose of heart to boot. On the program, struggle, laughter and emotion: go for it.

A Family in the Ring is currently available to stream on Prime Video.

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