Netflix’s ‘Bruised’ is the story of Jackie Justice (Halle Berry), a mixed martial arts fighter who leaves the sport in disgrace. She returns to fighting after everyone has counted her out, while also getting to know the son she gave up as an infant.
The movie begins with Jackie being taken to a brutal underground fight arena by her manager and boyfriend Desi (Adan Canto) where she is instigated into a fight by a huge fighter. She gives a good fight and makes mincemeat of her opponent. The confrontation brings her to the attention of Immaculate (Shamier Anderson). An independent promoter with conflicting intentions, he wants to go get back at the UFC, and he thinks Jackie can be his ticket.
He convinces her that Jackie, being a former UFC fighter, can get back at them too. He asks her to meet with legendary instructor Buddhakan (Sheila Atim). Jackie keeps a spray bottle of alcohol hidden underneath the kitchen sink. The neighborhood teens jeer at her. No one knows why Jackie tried to escape from the octagon years ago. They only know she hasn’t fought since.
Jackie’s mother drops a six-year-old boy at her door saying that it is her son, who she had dumped at her ex-boyfriend’s place years ago. Now, the father of the child is dead and the child is mute due to the trauma. The boy does not speak to anyone and hardly eats. Bundled with the responsibility of child Jackie decides to give fighting a try again, hence, she decides to meet Buddhakan.
Buddhakan is a female lesbian trainer who is into meditation, chanting of mantras and Zen. Jackie starts training and Immaculate is impressed and asks her to sign up for a title fight with the ‘Lady Killer’, who is the current champion. She is reluctant to do so without her manager boyfriend. Immaculate convinces her that her boyfriend is a loser and is there for his selfish reasons.
She signs the deal for the title fight. Her boyfriend Desi is enraged at knowing this. He turns abusive and tries to hit her son Manny. She saves her son and says that he is Little and she is Big and Big protects Little. Can she protect herself and her son from the dangers of this world while making it a fighting champion?
Bruised ending explained in detail:
Jackie’s sordid past
Jackie had bought her son a keyboard as it reminds him of his father. It was the last straw when Desi destroys the keyboard in anger. She leaves the place and goes to her mother. Her mother, Angel, is shown as an addicted, neglectful parent. In her childhood, Jackie had been abused by a series of her mother’s boyfriends.
She had been raped by her uncle, her mother’s brother, to which her mother plead ignorance. As she has no other place to stay, she stays with her mother in spite of this. Jackie returns to her training practice where her son bonds with Buddhakan alias Bonnie.
Jackie has a falling out with her mother over the past after her mother declared that she has a date. Jackie leaves her mother’s house. She goes to Buddhakan’s (Bonnie’s) house. She continues her training when Immaculate comes there and threatens her about not missing training even for a single day. He insults her by saying that she is not in the class of the Lady killer and it was enough if she just survived 3 rounds.
Parting of Ways
The pressure of the fight gets to Jackie and she has a panic attack in the restaurant where she was alone with her son. She rushes to the washroom. Manny is terrified.
When she comes out of the washroom she doesn’t find Manny anywhere. After a lot of searching, she returns home to find her son with her mother. Her mother takes custody of the child saying that Jackie was not fit to be a mother. Jackie returns to Bonnie’s house, where they come close, get intimate. They continue with their training. Jackie trains vigorously.
Jackie says to Bonnie that she has to do this alone for her son and she is not ready for a relationship yet. Bonnie is very upset and leaves in tears. The day of the big fight finally arrives, Jackie gets ready for her fight but finds that Bonnie is not there. Pops, her other experienced trainer, encourages her.
‘Lady Killer’ Lucia Chavez (Valentina Shevchenko), her opponent, is a strong contender. The title bout between Jackie and Lady Killer is a very long climax, filled with action, shock and awes. Both are equally matched and it is a fight of equals. Jackie’s mother and son both are watching the fight on television.
The fight gets intense and Jackie’s mother sends Manny away to sleep. Jackie impresses everyone with her fighting skills. She is back in the game. The fight ends with the Lady killer winning by just one point. The Lady killer is a sport and appreciates Jackie’s good fight. The whole crowd cheers Jackie as she becomes the crowd favourite.
When she comes out she finds Bonnie, but her arm is in a sling. She says it is a long story they hug each other. Jackie goes to meet her son at her mother’s place and apologizes to him. Manny shows the first sign of emotion when he touches her bruise marks. Jackie says that she is ok and her son, for the first time, has tears in his eyes. Jackie asks her son to give her a chance to make it up to him.
The movie ends with Jackie and Manny leaving their mother’s house, maybe to go to their own apartment. Manny stops on the way, showing that his shoelaces are undone, and Jackie bends down to tie them up. Manny, for the first time, speaks, saying “Thank you Big” and they both smile at each other.