I was able to watch a rough cut of the first 25 minute of Unrivaled (formerly Duran: King of the Cage) and, to my shock, I was pleasantly surprised. I would have preferred to work on the script myself (The script went into production after 1 draft), but the director, Warren P. Sonoda, opted to rewrite the script himself. I should have, at the very least, been called out of courtesy, but it seems he did a good job. The photography was excellant. Editing well done. And above all, the acting was better than what you’d expect from a martial arts flick. Keith Jardine and Rashad Evans (Of the UFC) delivered lines very well.
What did the director re-write? Well, he consolidated characters and overall streamlined the script. Most importantly…. he kept the heart of the character. A likable, down on his luck fighter, who never takes his situation to seriously. Someone you’d want to have around because he makes you want to be a better person. Again, Rocky for the UFC generation. All of this is usually done in the second, third,etc…. drafts, which I never had the chance to work on. But what’s fair is fair. He worked on the script and will get a Screenplay credit. I can tell he thought about the story a lot so the man deserves his share.
Hector Echavarria, who has been around the low budget industry for a while, did a great job producing and getting the film made. I don’t know how he does it, but he always seems to pull through. (He also acts in it and did a good job).
I’m excited to see the rest of the film and hope it holds up throughout the story. I am assuming it’s still slated for a DVD release. The previously scheduled date was December 6th, 2009. However, I’m crossing my fingers and hoping it turns out well enough for a theatrical release, if at least in a few theatres. I wont hold my breath.