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A film that feels like it shouldn’t work on paper, “The Invisible Fight” is a gem that combines discordant elements to make beautiful music.

Invisible Fight

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The Invisible Fight is an Estonian release that mixes heavy metal, kung fu, and Orthodox Christianity.

In 1973, a young soldier named Rafael served guard duty on the USSR-China border. After a group of martial arts masters attack, he is the only one left alive.

It is at this moment that Rafael realizes that “God has a plan for him.” He begins to listen to Black Sabbath and learn kung fu. When his car breaks down near a monastery, he starts the journey to enlightenment and badassery.

The Invisible Fight starts off as a straightforward comedy. The opening is a silly premise filled with visual gags. This continues on for a while with odd situations and camera tricks that add to the goofy aesthetic.

There is much more going on than it initially appears, however.

The Invisible Fight is a coming-of-age story that takes on spirituality, independence, and love.

Even in the silliest moments, there is a charm and sense of importance that radiates throughout the film.

It can make it hard to figure out exactly what writer-director Rainer Sarnet (November) is trying to say; is it just for laughs, or is there a deeper meaning? Regardless, it is always captivating.

Things move at a haphazard pace with scenes of pure chaos to more laid-back exposition-filled moments. The uneven stops and starts should hurt The Invisible Fight but instead, add to the overall story.

Humility is a running theme, and watching Rafael’s quest to figure out his place in the world is an erratic one.

If a movie is going to bill itself as a “heavy metal kung fu” story, there are two things that have to stand out. There have to be some fun fight scenes, and the soundtrack has to rock.

Though there are fewer fight scenes than some may expect, the combat in The Invisible Fight is well done. Excellent wire work pays homage to wuxia, and there are even allusions to John Woo — who himself was inspired by classics of the genre.

The music is one of the most interesting aspects of The Invisible Fight.

The guitar of Black Sabbath is the first thing heard, and ‘The Wizard’ plays throughout the movie.

What is surprising is there is just as much — if not more traditional — Eastern European music. Fiddles and other strings are often heard. It is another example of the differing forces that tug at Rafael.

The film has the grainy look of something shot in the 1970s. The plot is broken into chapters, with colorful and stylish titles filling the screen. Cartoonish sound effects come out of nowhere but never feel out of place.

For as much as The Invisible Fight throws at the audience, it never feels like it is overdone as it is spaced out carefully. Nothing is ever overused, giving each moment maximum impact.

The Invisible Fight will end up being one of the most unique movies of the year.

It is not every day that movies combine karate, Christianity, and Ozzy Osbourne, after all. The odd melding of dissimilar ingredients works in an entertaining blend of offbeat characters and excellent storytelling.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 4
The Invisible Fight opened in theaters on February 23, 2024.

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