Rickson Gracie: Choke


What do you expect from a film about no-holds-barred freestyle fighting? Gargantuan blokes pummelling each other's faces into jam? Gravel-voiced hyperbole and squealing guitars? Us too, but we'd be wrong. Choke is an absorbing and pleasingly personal doc following legendary scrapper Rickson Gracie as he takes his 400-fight winning streak to a 1995 tournament in Tokyo.

Gracie - - aside from being very hard - - is a quiet, likeable subject, making the pre-contest focus on his techniques and philosophy more bearable than it might be. When the fighting comes, it's truly grim - a tiny Japanese wrestler comes in for particularly sickening punishment - but it's the backstage stories that make this surprisingly compelling, such as the Winter Olympian reluctantly competing to pay for his new bobsled.

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