Tubi continues to be a source of original, low-budget feature films, following up the recent Unborn and Titanic 666 with the MMA-themed action film, Lord of the Streets. The quality of their original horror and science fiction films has been uneven, to put it mildly. Can they deliver a winning action film?
Jason Dyson (Anthony ‘Treach’ Criss, Feast, Equal Standard) is a former MMA fighter still haunted by the ghost of the opponent he killed in the ring. He’s also got a drinking problem, an ex-wife Valery (Ashley Doris, Lantern’s Lane, Little Dead Rotting Hood), and a daughter Stacy (Chanda Am) who doesn’t want anything to do with him. On the bright side, one of the fighters he’s training, Tre (A.J. McKee) shows a lot of promise.
Or at least he did until Kane (Quinton Jackson, A-Team, Boss Level) demands Jason pay off a debt by having him throw a fight. When he doesn’t, Kane has Tre killed and Stacy kidnapped. To get her back he needs to turn Damon Stone (Khalil Rountree Jr.) into a machine that can win five consecutive underground fights. The problem is Stone is behind bars on a 25 year sentence for manslaughter.
Lord of the Streets doesn’t have the most original of plots. But writer/director Jared Cohn (Deadlock, Devil’s Revenge) isn’t exactly known for creative plotting and innovative filmmaking style either. He is known for delivering technically competent product on a short schedule and low budget, which seems to be all Tubi cares about. If it’s actually good that’s a bonus.
And what he delivers here is just that, Lord of the Streets is a basic, by the numbers, low-budget fight film. We have the former champion who’s now down on his luck and whose life is a mess. The estranged family he still cares about. Kane is the requisite ruthless gangster who doesn’t take kindly to Tre refusing to throw a fight, which is a cliche in its own right. Throw in Stone as the skilled fighter who needs to learn discipline and Richard Grieco (Attack of the Unknown, Jungle Run) as an “unorthodox” detective and you have a full card plot Bingo.
Unfortunately, the entire cast seems to be going through the motions. There’s no spark or enthusiasm in any of the performances in Lord of the Streets. Part of this may be due to the number of current and former professional MMA fighters, including Anderson Silva (Tapped Out, The Invincible Dragon), in the cast. Unlike pro wrestlers who are used to delivering bad dialogue and stunt fighting for the camera, former cage fighters seem to have a hard time crossing over to film.
Not that Lord of the Streets had a script that would inspire anyone to give it 110%. It’s full of idiocy such as people mouthing off to armed goons and their companions being shocked when they get shot. And I can’t imagine anyone getting fired up to deliver lines like “I hate you more now than I ever did before.”. It’s no wonder even the usually reliable Treach looks like he modeled his performance on late-career Bruce Willis.
Even the fight scenes and training montages, which should have been the one thing Cohn should have put some effort into are lifeless. By the time Lord of the Streets comes to its all too predictable last-minute twists anyone who hasn’t already grabbed the remote and tapped out will be far beyond caring what’s happening. I’m glad Tubi is producing some original content, but they really need to step it up to at least the B or C movie level if they want people to keep watching.
As a Tubi Original, Lord of the Streets is free with commercials wherever Tubi is available. But this is one time you shouldn’t feel too bad if you’re left out, you can always check FilmTagger for a better alternative.