Review: ‘Come Out Fighting’ (2023), starring Kellan Lutz, Michael Jai White, Tyrese Gibson, Dolph Lundgren and Hiram A. Murray

August 6, 2023

by Carla Hay

Kellan Lutz and Hiram A. Murray in “Come Out Fighting” (Photo courtesy of Screen Media Films)

“Come Out Fighting” (2023)

Directed by Steven Luke

Culture Representation: Taking place in Europe during World War II, the action film “Come Out Fighting” features a cast of white and African American characters representing military men fighting in the war.

Culture Clash: A squad of African American soldiers in the U.S. Army are tasked with going behind enemy lines to find their official missing commanding officer, and they find a U.S. Army fighter pilot who’s lost in the woods after his plane crashed.

Culture Audience: “Come Out Fighting” will appeal mostly to people who are enthusiasts of World War II movies, no matter how bad the movie.

Dolph Lundgren in “Come Out Fighting” (Photo courtesy of Screen Media Films)

“Come Out Fighting” is an excruciatingly awful World War II combat movie that is an insult to history and an insult to anyone who was a part of this war. It’s hard to watch this junkpile movie’s visual effects, dialogue, and acting, which are all terrible. The only good use of “Come Out Fighting” is if anyone wants to see how not to make a war film.

Written and directed by Steven Luke, “Come Out Fighting” is an onslaught of nonsensical and unrealistic military combat scenes. It’s as if the soldiers in the movie were trained by clowns in a circus sideshow. However, “Come Out Fighting” isn’t a satire or comedy. It takes itself way too seriously, considering how terribly tacky everything is in the abomination of a film.

“Come Out Fighting,” which has an all-male cast, begins with a very fake-looking scene of U.S. Army pilots Lieutenant Mike Rawlings (played by Andrew Stecker) and Lieutenant Frank Ross (played by Kellan Lutz) each flying a small plane over an open field somewhere in Europe. (“Come Out Fighting was actually filmed in the United States.) Mike and Frank bomb a train carrying military items, such as tanks. The train derails and explodes.

It doesn’t take long for the enemy to retaliate. Enemy planes shoot at Mike and Frank. Mike dies when his plane is shot, and his plane crashes into a field. Frank runs out of fuel, but he is able to parachute out of the plane. Frank is then considered missing for a great deal of the story.

Meanwhile, an all-African American squad of soldiers, led by Lieutenant Robert A. Hayes (played by Hiram A. Murphy), not only have to fight the Nazis and Axis military personnel in this war, they also have to fight the racism within the ranks of the U.S. military. Robert’s subordinates include Sergeant AJ “Red” McCarron (played by Michael Jai White) and Private Michael “Salty” Buttons (played by Rich Lowe). In the beginning of the movie, all three men are in a wooded area for a task of finding mines.

Here’s an example of the cringeworthy dialogue in “Come Out Fighting”: When the trio encounters a group of white soldiers from the U.S. Army, earnest Salty tells a gruff and cynical Red: “These white boys don’t look happy to see us.” Red replies to Salty: “When we around, white folks ain’t never happy.”

After some mind-numbingly horrible staged combat scenes, Robert goes missing. His squad goes looking for him in the same wooded area where Frank has disappeared. Robert’s squad then teams up with another African American squad, led by Sergeant Warran Crecy (played by Tyrese Gibson), who’s a rebellious drunk. Warran has a large, bald sidekick named Sgt. Thomas (played by Vicellous Shannon), who is stereotypically brooding.

With two U.S. Army lieutenants lost in the woods, “Come Out Fighting” does the most predictable thing possible: These two lieutenants (Robert and Frank) find each other. And there’s tension between them from the start. Even though they need each other to stay alive, expect to see Robert and Frank do a lot of bickering with each other.

Can these two lost lieutenants put aside their differences to work together on finding their way out of the woods on their own? Or will any squad come to their rescue? And will anyone care about halfway through the movie, which gets bogged down in a lot of boring repetition?

Dolph Lundgren shows up and barks orders as a character named Major Chase Anderson, in an obvious “I’m just here for the paycheck” role, which can also be said for any of the actors who degraded themselves to be in such an embarrassing movie. The sheer ineptitude on display here (even the costume design is wrong) just gets worse as this train wreck of a movie careens toward it unimaginative ending. There’s not much more to say about “Come Out Fighting” except that a more accurate title for this type of tacky film is “Come Out Failing.”

Screen Media Films released “Come Out Fighting” in select U.S. cinemas, digital and VOD on May 19, 2023.

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