'Dawg Fight' (unrated)

March 13, 2015 5:22 PM

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From the outside, at first glance, it looks like a horror show: young men inside a small ring pummeling each other in the backyard of a private home in West Perrine, bare-knuckled and often bleeding, with no protective gear other than a mouth guard. The rules, as laid out by the master of ceremonies, the towering Dhafir “Dada 5000” Harris, are simple: The fights end with a knockout, if the referee calls it or if one of the fighters quits. No hits to the back of the head and no groin strikes. Outside of that, anything goes. Once you step into the ring, you can’t step out.

One of the best things about Dawg Fight, the first true narrative documentary by the rakontur crew of director Billy Corben and producers Alfred Spellman, Evan Rosenfeld and David Cypkin (Cocaine Cowboys, The U, Broke), is how the movie gradually introduces you to a world that initially seems repell...

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