‘The Invisible Fight’ Review – A Heavy Metal Action Comedy Lacking All of Those Things

Screenshot - Kino Lorber - Invisible Fight
Rafael (Ursel Tilk) in The Invisible Fight (2024), Kino Lorber

Hey, how about a film that goes for juggling temptation and religion while pursuing your passion, but settles on flopping about in mediocrity for almost two hours?

Kung Fu training for an Invisible Fight
Irinei (Kaarel Pogga) helps train Rafael (Ursel Tilk) in The Invisible Fight (2023), Kino Lorber

That’s the best way I can begin to describe The Invisible Fight wherein a trio of long-haired Chinese bandits infiltrates a Russian camp on the USSR-China border in 1973.

Carrying nothing but a pair of nunchucks and a boombox (how handy), the bandits use wuxia-type kung fu to wipe out the entire platoon. They float in the air, run on the walls, and dance on machine guns, all while blasting Black Sabbath.

Their earth-shattering kung fu inspired one survivor, a Russian soldier named Rafael (Ursel Tilk). After growing out his hair and mimicking kung fu to the best of his ability, Rafael sets out to find a kung fu master despite the banning of kung fu and heavy metal music in Russia.

Polar opposites-invisible fight
Nafanail (Indrek Sammul) trains Rafael (Ursel Tilk) in the way of the staff in The Invisible Fight (2023), Kino Lorber

His car breaks down at a monastery of all places where the monks train in martial arts. Initially seen as a clown, Rafael becomes a pupil of the monastery, where he must learn humility and how to suppress the unholiest desires, including bread, alcohol, and a blossoming relationship.

There are some potentially entertaining moments in The Invisible Fight. The dumpling fight with rival monk Irinei (Kaarel Pogga) is ridiculous, while the opening with the Chinese bandits is the most amusing action in the film.

And then there’s this dance number featuring some of the worst dancing you’ve ever seen while being passed off as something decent is also reasonably fun.

Star Ursel Tilk carries the film as his palpable swagger and dumbfounded look of happiness make him an enjoyable character to follow throughout the film. Rafael has a habit of driving fast and recklessly, which results in a crazy fight with a man wielding a catalytic converter.

But neither “crazy” nor “enjoyable” help The Invisible Fight decide what type of film it wants to be. The humor isn’t funny enough to carry the film, and the kung fu is too brief to allow the film to feel like an actual action film.

Writer and director Rainer Sarnet crafts a fumbling story that starts with an interesting premise and only progresses to move things along. Rafael never learns humility and never stops drinking and his behavior never wavers in the film – but for some reason the monks decide to train him anyway.

Kung Fu Hustle in an Invisible Fight
Eddie Tsai as a bandit dishing out vengeance in The Invisible Fight (2023), Kino Lorber

Rafael meets a love interest named Rita (Ester Kuntu), who, after attempting suicide, becomes possessed by a demon. The demon aspect is introduced and then dropped solely because of romance. (Love conquers all, I guess.)

The rest of the film is devoted to Rafael using the monks to learn kung fu. They see him as some prodigy after accidentally invoking a miracle. This miraculous discovery causes a rivalry with Irinei, who has been a monk for seven years.

Invisible Fight with Kung Fu action
Rafael (Ursel Tilk) practices Kung Fu at the breakfast table in The Invisible Fight (2023), Kino Lorber

Religion is a heavy theme. The film doesn’t exactly preach to you, but it’s as if it is lecturing you on what’s good and evil most of the time. That’s contrasted by Rafael’s want to have fun punching and kicking people to death because he thinks it’s cool.

He does that… and the monks worship him for it like he’s the second coming!

The Invisible Fight has an amusing concept with a clunky and exaggerated execution. The aspect that entices you rides shotgun to something far less exciting but likely much more grounded in reality.

MonK Fu - Invisible Fight
Rafael (Ursel Tilk) with Orthodox monks worshipping in The Invisible Fight (2023), Kino Lorber

A film claiming to be a “heavy metal action comedy” has mostly lackluster action, comedy with humor that refuses to land, and the same Black Sabbath song reused over and over again to the point of ‘All right, we get it already!’ That sums it up nicely.

NEXT: ‘Dune: Part Two’ Review – As the Worm Turns

The Invisible Fight (2024), Kino Lorber



  • Ursel Tilk's performance.
  • The opening action sequence.


  • Religion sucks the fun out of the film.
  • Action is super brief.
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