Rated: R
Release Date: 11/20/2020
Production Company: IFC Films

Stephen Dorff, Elisabeth Reaser, Donald Faison, Darren Mann, Jakari Fraser, Ava Capri and Colin McKenna.

Director: Nick Sarkisov. Producers: Sergey Sarkisov, Eryl Cochran and Scott LaStaiti. Executive Producers: Nick Sarkisov and Frank Ragen. Screenwriter: David McKenna. Cinematographer: Paul Ozgur.
By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs

Stephen Dorff’s new movie “Embattled” isn’t politically correct by any means. It has a stunning and diverse cast, and it doesn’t have a predictable or happy ending per se.
Maybe that’s why I liked it so much.

Directed by Nick Sarkisov (“Show Me What You Got”), “Embattled” is a gritty and unique father and son sports drama.

Dorff stars as Cash Boykins, a champion MMA Fighter who is rough, tough, and abusive in and outside of the ring. He has all the flash and swagger of Conor McGregor and almost as much money too.

The scrawny kid from Alabama made a name for himself. If only Cash had control over his personal life like he does the ring, he’d be a real winner.

Despite Cash’s obnoxious behavior toward everyone including his own family, his oldest son Jett (Darren Mann, TV’s “Fortunate Son”) still admires his dad and wants to follow in his footsteps.

Jett is so focused on fighting, tending after his special needs brother, Quinn (a very good Colin McKenna, real son of screenwriter, David McKenna, TV’s “Cocaine Godmother”) and looking after his divorced mother, Susan (Elisabeth Reaser, TV’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”) that Jett is falling behind in school.

Meanwhile, dad is living large with his young, new wife Jade (Karrueche Tran, TV’s “The Bay”) in a beautiful mansion while his family struggles to pay the rent, put food on the table and keep up with Quinn’s medical bills.

Susan and Cash will never reconcile. To hear him talk about his ex-wife and “retard” son is downright appalling. How can someone be that cruel?
Still, Jett is always there like clockwork to train with his father.
Perhaps he thinks that it will somehow bring them closer and maybe his kindness could possibly rub off on his old man.

Not likely, but it’s a nice thought, nonetheless.

A series of events transpire that surprisingly pits Jett against Cash for a championship fight worth big bucks. Jett’s mother doesn’t want to see her son get hurt and especially not have him go toe to toe with Cash, but she knows this is what Jett wants and must do to chart his own path.

Will Jett’s years of pent-up anger toward his father be enough to propel him to victory over his dad? Or will Cash show no mercy and beat his son to a pulp and maintain his dominance and legacy?

It’s quite a showdown, but “Embattled” doesn’t rely on just brawn and brashness. There is a real heartwarming story beneath the bravado of it all that shines through and packs a powerful and emotional punch as well.

“Embattled” is available on VOD Nov. 20.

Editor's Note: Be sure to catch my movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays now at 6:20 p.m. on radio station KFBK 1530 AM and 93.1 FM.

Look At This Trailer For "EMBATTLED"

Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), The Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC) and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.


Year Released: 1976
Running Time: 96
Production Company: AIP/MGM
Director: Arthur Marks
Director of Photography: Harry J. May
Screenwriter: Jaison Starkes
Author: By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs


"Don’t You Like Your Daddy’s Conk?”Glynn Turman, “JD’s Revenge” (1976).

I am a huge fan of blaxploitation movies and “JD’s Revenge” is one of my favorites and especially that crazy line from the movie. I remember seeing “JD’s “Revenge”--now a Black, cult classic--at the State Theater in Los...
Glynn Turman was married to which one of these R&B/Pop singers?
"Tina Turner"
"Aretha Franklin"
"Gladys Knight'"
" Diana Ross"