Rumble Through the Dark is an action/ thriller written by Michael Farris Smith (Desperation Road) from his novel “The Fighter” and directed by Graham Phillips and Parker Phillips (The Bygone, The Mediator).
Synopsis: Golden Globe® nominee Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight) stars as a desperate, bare-knuckle cage fighter battling for the only thing he has left in this riveting action-thriller. Bella Thorne (Divinity, The DUFF) shines alongside Eckhart in this gripping film about one man’s last-ditch effort to save his family home against the strongest foes and the longest of odds. IMDb describes the film: “In the dark landscape of the Mississippi Delta, a bare-knuckle cage fighter seeks to repay his debts in a final, desperate attempt to salvage the family home of his dying foster mother.”
I anticipated a very predictable film and essential performances. I have seen Aaron Eckhart’s previous dramatic roles, which motivated me to view the movie. From the initial scene of him as a toddler with his birth mother to where he lived with his foster mother, MaryAnn, who raised him to try to face challenges, we see how he evolved into the cage fighter, Jack “The Butcher” Boucher. As difficult as it is to watch no-rules cage fighting, it is hard to take your eyes off Eckhart’s performance with each fight. He is at the point of not being able to fight as he used to but goes in because he is so determined to get free and clear of what he owes Big Mama Sweet (Marianne Jean-Baptiste, “Without a Trace” TV series, The Book of Clarence). She has made money from his previous fights, but Jack has amassed a significant debt. He also feels guilty about the foreclosure of the foster family home and gives it his all to keep it.
When a man (Joe Hursley) tries to overcome Jack and turn him into Big Momma, there is a significant fight on the road. A traveling carnival show stops along the route and sees the mayhem—no Jack. One of the carnival performers, Annette (Bella Thorne), finds Jack’s cash envelope on the ground, and her boss, Baron (Ritchie Coster), says to keep it. There is a story that veers off about her and being uneasy about keeping it. Cash can be trouble in the carnival surroundings. When a low life follows Bella, Jack happens to be in the vicinity and sees her threatened. He refuses her help or to know more about her, but she is also persistent in helping him.
The main reason to view this film is Eckhart’s performance with every beating. When Jack appears before Big Momma (Jean-Baptiste), their scenes together send this film toward fireworks territory. She does not stutter; she can make a man cringe with one look. She rules. By the very latter part of the film, Jack looks like he will face a sure death. Big Momma selected an opponent taller and bulkier/built. Jack is so thin that he does not look like he can survive another punch.
Some scenes can be considered melodramatic, but not soap opera style. It is watching this broken individual try to come to terms with how his life took a turn. His “Mom” (the woman who raised him) helped with his lack of confidence and tried to steer him toward better. When punched in the head or revived, his thoughts flashback to a better time in his young life.
Rating: Rated R for violence, language, and some sexual material. Running Time: 116 minutes
U.S. Release Dates: In Theaters November 3; On Demand and Digital November 10, then on Blu-ray and DVD December 19, 2023.