In a neighborhood where fighting is stitched into the fabric of everyday life, Miguel has never found himself in one. However, when a combination of events turn his life upside down, Miguel and his friends enter into a series of misadventures.
In Miguel Wants to Fight, we’ll, Miguel wants to fight, but can’t. He is not a fighter, pretty odd for a kid who plays martial arts movies and video games, even dreams about being Bruce Lee. The neighborhood kids pride themselves on their street fighting skills and are eager to flex them any chance they get. They are touched by Miguel’s desire to be like them, but also understand and accept his reluctance to battle. Yet, he wants to fight. So they set out to find someone he can fight. The real reason he wants to brawl is that his family is moving soon and he wants the last few moments with his friends to be special to them.
A good and willing cast helps here. Rodriguez direction allows the cast to create an assured breeziness that is a great part of Miguel Wants to Fight puckish charisma. Tyler Dean Flores plays Miguel with a stubborn wining optimism that translates to subtle charm and makes you want to root for him.
The film is structured as a video game, with Miguel progressing up the levels. It’s more vignettes than anything. The chromatic graphic design adds a retro computer vibe to Miguel’s visual style. A funk driven score and a frenetic sound design further anchors us into this kid’s world. Even the fight choreography has a retro camp Bruce Lee flick flair.
Miguel Wants to Fight is all about the nostalgic memories that must occur and be noted when teenage friends move away, literally grow up. It’s all about leaving with a clean conscience, in honesty and truth and with good vibes. There is an undertow of grief that adds extra feels and makes it stick in the heart. It’s to director Rodriguez’s credit that it achieves a proper balance between drama and comedy.
Miguel Wants to Fight gets a 3.5 out of 5 or a B+. It’s a Hulu original film.
Shea Serrano, Jason Concepcion
Tyler Dean Flores, Christian Vunipola, Imani Lewis, Suraj Partha, Raúl Castillo