American Wrestler: The Wizard (2016)

George Kosturos, William Fichtner, Ali Afshar, Lia Marie Johnson,
American Wrestler: The Wizard is a movie starring George Kosturos, William Fichtner, and Ali Afshar. In 1980, a teenage boy escapes the unrest in Iran only to face more hostility in America, due to the hostage crisis. Determined to...
  • 7.2 /10.0 IMDB Rating:
  • DatePublished:
  • 2018-09-07 Added:
  • Brian Rudnick, Writer:
  • Alex Ranarivelo, Director:
  • Hadeel Reda, Producer:


8 / 10

Excellent feel good movie

As soon as I saw the poster for this one, I knew I was going to like it.

I am a bit of a sucker for a feel good sport movie, especially when they are based on true events like this one is.

You can not go wrong with Jon Voight and William Fichtner as far as I am concerned, they very rarely do a bad movie and they do not disappoint here. George Kosturos as Ali is excellent and Ali Afshar as his uncle Hafez hits all the right notes.

I am old enough to remember the 1980 hostage saga and Ronald Reagan being elected President, so it brings back a lot of memories.

Very much worth watching and one I will be watching again, a suggestion for some would be to have the tissues handy.

Very solid 8/10

7 / 10

Rare Find -- low budget, indie, feel-good movie that most works

Good acting, great story (based on actual events.) Good casting.

Intends to deliver that "feel good" buzz and mostly succeeds.

And, let us not forget, in this somewhat upside down world there are not enough of these kinds of movies being made.

On the other side of ledger, there are problems here and there with the script and the direction.

Script has what they call "false notes." Initially for example, Ali's uncle is painted as a fairly nasty character -- this for no reason I could discern -- then valuable script time is wasted trying to "rehabilitate" him in the eyes of the audience.


Same with the half-hearted attempt to make this less a sports film and more a social commentary. Also, out of nowhere, literally given less than 60 seconds of screen time, is the notion that the secret of Ali's technique is some sort of lost Perian MMA skill that goes back to Ghenghis Khan. (Caught my interest, would have liked to know more.)


Similar issues with the direction which has "odd beats." If you watch a lot of films, the timing will seem wrong to you on a subliminal level. Too much time, for example, on social issues with minimal time on the actual training. Again, if this is a sports film (and neither the writer or director seem entirely convinced) this could have been handled better.

Recommendation? Yeah, catch it if you can.

7 / 10

Very enjoyable

There are some reviews really ripping on the details on the film, and it is definitely a little formulaic. But it's got a very good cast, some good performances, a good soundtrack, and it overall an enjoyable movie. Some of the elements they try to incorporate to make it a little different than other sports films night not all work, but for a small film that I would guess didn't have a huge budget I think they did a very good job.

9 / 10

Well written and great performances

As a former high school wrestler in a small town this movie really resonates with me. Also very well written and believable for that period of time. If you like an underdog story and you like wrestling this movie is a 10/10 for you! Full of emotion, and good tense good old fashion high school themed beat downs. Its not that corny in the movie, but its really believable and great action and drama as well.

8 / 10

Fantastic True Movie!

The true story of a boy who escapes Iran to live with his uncle in California. Facing strife at home, school, and the community at large as the Iran hostage crisis was happening at the time; the young man attempts to fit in by joining a sports team. Eventually he lands on the wrestling team. Equal parts heartwarming and gut wrenching this movie is not to be missed. Worth the rental. Two thumbs up!