Kevin James, Henry Winkler and Salma Hayek.
Sounds like the cast for a quickie made-for-television low-budget, low-brow comedy, to be shown on either YTV or the Family Channel.
Instead, following a basic Rocky formula, we have a winner of a movie called “Here Comes the Boom.”
Not a winner as in first-round knockout or TKO but a 12-round split decision.
Directed by Frank Coraci (The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy, Zookeeper) this 105-minute comedy – seemed more like 106 minutes – follows a basic formula.
Dedicated high school music teacher (Winkler) finds out that his music program is about to be axed by school. Lazy biology teacher (James) is revitalized by energy of fellow teacher.
Lazy teacher not only regains passion for teaching but decides to fall back on college wrestling career, which was 20 years prior, to enter the world of mixed martial arts at the age of 42.
It is here, in the blood and broken bones, that he plans to raise the $48,000 or so needed to save the music program.
He figures that even by losing while playing the role of punching bag, he will come out a winner by saving the music program.
There are a lot of real life MMA legends on the screen, the most notable being Sebastiaan “Bas” Rutten.
The big fella should have had a fourth billing in the role of Niko, training coach for James’ character Scott Voss, as surprisingly as it may be, Rutten’s acting is actually passable and funny while playing a great second fiddle. To be honest, he actually steals a few scenes.
Also impressed with the slimmed down version of James who shed 70-to-80 pounds in 14 months for the role.
The action scenes are realistic and the editing crisp with plenty of pump up music. They could have cast a better love interest for James though rather than Hayek.
The movie has not done well at the box office mainly because of James previous flops (Zoopkeeper, Grown Ups) keeping the paying public away, but with “Here Comes the Boom” there is enough comedy, in-ring action sequences and build up, to keep you entertained.
On the out-of-five Theogenes scale (ancient Greek fighter was world’s greatest athlete bar none) we give this a two-and-a-half.
See you on the silver screen.