After surviving a severe coma from a near fatal car accident, struggling fighter Malagamali’i retreats further into depression. When doctors recommend boxing as an alternative physical therapy, Malaga finds purpose and the strength to stand up to his suppressive father; ultimately discovering the greatest impacts in life are the people closest to him.
“There is no boxer I could ever relate to except Muhammad Ali”
The story of Malaga Malii D’hue is deep and rich, and we’ve only scratched the surface with this short documentary. We have plans to adapt this into a feature film based on a true story.
No one can evade a combo of punches better than Malagamali’i D’Hue. So what happens he’s put to the test against the fastest boxer in the Heavyweights of America?
FADE IN: Seattle, WA./Los Angeles, CA - 2015. Pow! MALAGA MALII D’HUE, 25, is taking brutal shots to the face in a shady amateur MMA style fight. The opponent he is facing is much bigger, but somehow Malaga is able to keep his own against him, but it isn’t enough. He loses.
Next day, a battered Malaga is at home where he lives with his father DALE D’HUE, 50’s. He helps get his sickly father ready to go to the hospital. They don’t speak or touch, there is no love between them. It is a very strained relationship. At the Hospital, Malaga is giving stem cells and bone marrow to his father to help him with his fight of stage 4 Lymphoma cancer. The only reason he is his fathers donor is because there is now other donor in the world that matches his fathers blood type and genetic makeup, and he lives with him because there is no one else who can help take care of him.
After drinking with friends, against warnings not to because of his weakened state from the stem cell donations, Malaga is involved in a serious car accident. In the Hospital on life support, Malaga clings to life in a deep and vegetated coma. His Doctor, WILLIAM FARAG, 40’s, tells Malaga’s family that they fused the damaged areas of his neck and head with titanium plating, but there is little hope for any recovery, and recommends they pull the plug. The family ultimately agrees…except his father Dale. He ultimately convinces Dr. Farag to keep Malaga on life support for a max of 8 days. But only on the fact that if they pull the plug Malaga, they pull the plug on Dale who is only surviving because of the unique stem cell treatments that he gets from his son. On day 7, Malaga miraculously wakes up!
Weeks pass. Malaga slowly recovers…but his spirit is fully broken. One of his physical therapists JAIMIE, 20’s, notices that Malaga is having a hard time being touched while they help stretch and help heal his body; even turning down treatments or not wanting to participate in certain exercises. She tries several approaches to no avail. Concerned, JAIMIE tells Dr. Farag who finally also notices something is not right with Malaga even though he is physically recovering, he desperately needs help. Observing Malaga for the briefest of moments come alive and escape from his apathy while watching an old fight of Muhammad Ali, he gets an idea and tries a creative solution.
DR. Farag recruits his old high school friend and former boxer dropout MARTIN LONG, 50’s, who runs a boxing gym for the homeless, to step in and help. Malaga’s titanium supported neck and head have healed so well that its safe to use boxing for rehabilitation purposes only. Martin only agrees if Malaga helps with training the Homeless. Malaga scoffs and turns them down at the idea of working with bums, and that he'd ever fight again. Dr. Farag uses the mandatory PT as leverage to force Malaga into having sessions with Martin and Jaimie.
Through boxing training, Martin straightens out Malaga's mindset and injuries and rebuilds him from the ground up. He soon learns about Malaga's fears, abusive father, and self doubt. Malaga’s recovery skyrockets as he trains, even impressing Martin. His interaction with Jaimie begins to change for the better, he starts to open up to her. Dale visits the gym, not to watch his son, but to pick him up so that they can go do the Stem Cell transfer at the hospital. He is negative and reprimands Martin for giving Malaga hope when there is none to be had. The full destruction and power he has over his son is apparent. Martin refuses to give up on Malaga, and encourages him to spar with a semi-pro boxer training there for an upcoming fight. To everyones astonishment, Malaga’s neck can take harder hits and he is able to hit even harder. Malaga defeats him so bad, that the semi-pro boxer quits boxing. Malaga is fully discharged from PT by Dr. Farag. Malaga finds out that Jaimie is in a troubled long distance relationship and is devastated, the attraction is mutual and the two remain good friends.
MICHAEL KING, 60’s, finds out about this major upset, and invites Malaga to try out for ALL AMERICAN HEAVYWEIGHTS. During the tryouts, Malaga does marginal. He comes across the best fighter there, RATTLE SNAKE WILLIAM’S, who badgers him for being so small and out of place there. Down to the final challenge, “Eternal Punching Bag”, and through sheer determination Malaga somehow beats the rest of the boxers, even Rattlesnake Williams. This finally helps Malaga win one of the few precious spots in the program, but its a long uphill climb to get the full respect from all the other boxers there. Martin and Malaga keep it a secret that he is in the big boxing program or that has just recovered from serious injuries. Malaga climbs up the ranks in the elite program by winning his sparing sessions. His father, Dale, slowly comes around and finally gives some support for what he is doing, as long as he can continue to give stem cells. Malaga and Jaimie are out at drinks when they’re ambushed by her drunk manipulative boyfriend who is in town. Malaga has to let her be. Malaga is finally scheduled for his first Pro Fight….but it is quickly taken away. Malagas doctor tipped off Michael King that Malaga is fresh off severe major injuries and no doctor in their right mind would clear him to fight. He is told that he will never fight professionally or with the All American Heavyweights again.
Furious, Martin confronts Dr. Farag about his actions of stopping Malaga from fighting. Dr. Farag fears for Malagas life, and Martin is trying to help Malaga reclaim and live his life on his own terms. The two argue and stir up old resentments. Malaga walks in on this and finds out that his father is the instigator behind the doctors actions. Malaga confronts his father and finally lets out all his pent up anger and resentment against him. He breaks down crying and hugs his emotionally cold father for the first time; saying he loves him, forgiving him and also declaring that he will never be like him. His father finally breaks and hugs him back, shedding tormented suppressed tears. With this break through and nothing to lose, Malaga confronts Jaimie about how he truly feels about her. She is torn, and ultimately rejects him by saying that they can’t be friends anymore.
Malaga goes back to doing a menial job, and continues to help Martin with the homeless program. His father, Dale D’hue goes to Dr. Farag and finally convinces him to clear Malaga. With this turn of events, Martin is able to convince Michael King to give Malaga a shot to get back in the All American Heavyweights. But under one condition, Malaga has to fight their biggest and best star fighter “RATTLE SNAKE” WILLIAMS to prove that his healed wounds can take the barrage of impacts for twelve rounds with just days to prepare for the fight. Martin and Malaga prepare vigorously. Malaga visits Jaimie at work, thanking her for everything she had helped him with. He tells her about his fight.
Malaga fights the much larger Rattlesnake Williams and barely hangs on through the first several rounds, his stronger titanium neck saves him. By round 5, Malaga is fearless of getting hit and attacks with nothing to lose, taking Rattlesnake by surprise and putting him on the defense for the first time in his career. The training sparing session turns into an all out battle! Everyone crowds to watch as the fight continues. People there call other friends to come watch…by the end of the fight the gym is packed. For Malaga this is the fight of his life! He. Does. Not. Back. Down. Both fighters are bruised and battered….everyone watches in absolute awe. Malaga has finally won the respect and admiration of everyone there.
FADE UP: Big sports arena. Packed Crowd. Malaga walks out with his corner crew. He takes in the surroundings…and looks at those he loves and cares about in the stands…Dr. Farag, Martin, Jaimie, and his father… He is calm and collect. He smiles and starts the fight. He makes the first impact…..POW!
“All I could recognize was the word death”
“There is nothing that can go wrong anymore”
Genre: drama, sport
Length – 96 minutes
A Workhouse Creative Inc. Film
Story by Keith Rivers, Directed by Keith Rivers, Executive Producer Keith Rivers
Story by Clark Koelsch, Written by Clark Koelsch
John Guleserian – Director of Photography
“Make an impact, Malaga.”