A small-town boy hustling his way through the big city forms an uneasy alliance with a scam artist who inducts him into the violent world of bare-knuckle brawling in A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints writer/director Dito Montiel's unforgiving urban action film. Arriving in New York City with little more than the shirt on his back, Shawn MacArthur (Channing Tatum) makes ends meet by selling counterfeit goods on the street. But times are tough and money is short, and just as things are starting to look grim, Shawn crosses paths with crafty con artist Harvey Boarden (Terrence Howard). Harvey instantly recognizes Shawn's natural talent for street fighting, and offers to help the uneasy newcomer make some quick cash on the bare-knuckle circuit. But making a living by brawling isn't easy because the system is hopelessly corrupt, and the only people who really come out on top are the rich businessmen who place wagers on the disposable fighters. Still, Harvey's instincts were right, and Shawn quickly makes a name for himself by taking down every opponent who crosses his path, including mixed martial arts champs, veteran pugilists, and ultimate fighters. As each bout becomes more intense, Shawn realizes that his only hope for escaping this dark world is to face his fiercest opponent to date.
by Jason Buchanan synopsis