'Bruised' follows Jackie Justice (a talented, but unrecognized MMA fighter). Jackie 'Pretty Bull", Justice, who suffered a crushing defeat in MMA that ended her career, hits rock bottom. She tries to get back in the ring but her life becomes more complicated when she is confronted by her son, her teenage, estranged child. Jackie is fighting for her life outside the ring with few friends. Surprisingly, the film's final fight with an unbeatable opponent has an unexpected outcome. The movie ends on an optimistic note that makes it feel more like an beginning than an ending. Let's find out what happens after the conclusion of Bruised. Let's look closer. SPOILERS BEFORE.
Jackie fights in the background, and so begins the movie. She struggles to stand up against her opponent, and the match ends with the fallen MMA fighter trying to get out of the fighting ring voluntarily — a move considered devastating for a professional fighter's reputation. Jackie, now four years old and struggling with alcoholism as she works in an abusive work environment as a maid, is then found. Desi, Jackie's boyfriend and manager, keeps trying to make her get involved in fighting again, but doesn’t really do anything to help her.
Jackie faces Immaculate in an undercover fight, in which she reluctantly becomes involved, but nevertheless decimates her opponent. Immaculate is the owner of a renowned MMA league. Desi is able to convince him that Jackie still has the skill set necessary to be back in the ring. Jackie starts to make plans for her comeback, hopeful. But her world is torn apart when Manny, her 6-year-old boy, appears at her doorstep.
Jackie struggles to be a mother. It gets worse when her abusive and sexist boyfriend is involved. The single mother must leave Manny and move in with her mother, who is also a belligerent. Jackie finally finds refuge in Bobbi Buddhakan her strict, but loving coach. A brief romance blossoms between the two of them. Jackie, however, admits she was not ready to be in a relationship. Bobbi is a recovering addict and falls back into the bottles the night before.
Jackie's trainer is absent from her big fight, leaving her confused. Jackie goes to face Lucia 'Lady Killer", an undefeated MMA champion, and she looks set to rip Jackie to pieces. Jackie's opponent is very explosive and the match turns out to be brutal. But, Jackie manages to get back into it and utilizes her strategically-placed grapples to even the score.
Contrary to expectations, the entire match goes through five rounds. Even Lady Killer's prowess is a surprise, given that she has not fought in four years. Lady Killer eventually wins the fight by a split decision. Jackie's performances are overwhelming and Jackie returns home to pick Manny up from the mother's place. Manny says the last words, "Thanks, Big."
Jackie doesn't win the title fight but it appears she does get what she wants, even though she loses. The MMA fighter, who is still struggling from self-loathing from her loss and subsequent spiral downwards, finally sees the praise and applause she deserves from the crowd. Jackie, who was stunned by the announcement of Jackie as People's Champion, congratulates the fighter on winning the fight.
Jackie seems to have the most suffering is Manny her son, who is struggling with the loss of his father. Manny's traumatized state makes it difficult for him to talk during much of the film. Jackie, who is trying to keep Manny safe from her abusive father and mother, has trouble creating a loving and secure environment for him.
Manny eventually comes to terms with his mother the more Manny observes her struggle. Jackie agrees to buy Manny an apartment, and she also gets ten thousand dollars for taking part in the fight. The mother and her son are happy after being so dependent on others. Jackie's statement that she doesn’t know where Manny is leading her to believe that it is symbolic of Manny and Manny feeling free after having been victims of circumstance for so much.
Jackie calls Manny Big or Little to help her understand the realities of living. Her traumatized childhood has led her to tell her child how she felt. Manny finally calls his mother "Big", and this is their first public acknowledgement of their relationship. It's the only moment in the whole film that we see Manny smile.
Jackie and Bobbi Buddhakan are in a short but very intense relationship. Although the former believes it is the beginning to a relationship with Jackie, the former tells her she isn't ready for a romance. Bobbi lost custody of her child when she was married and broke her vow to not drink alcohol.
Jackie and Bobbi are not in a long-term relationship but they do form an intimate bond. Jackie explains to the trainer that she did not show up at the match as she was confident that Jackie could do it on her own. After seeing the obvious, she no longer harbors self-loathing and now sees things clearly. She then hugs her coach with a deep but not verbal love. Jackie, though not explicitly mentioned, will probably continue an illustrious career in MMA fighting and Bobbi will almost certainly remain her friend and trainer.
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