When I reached that scene, I almost stopped watching. It just seemed too over the top. It’s early in them movie so there’s no need for a spoiler alert. Nicolas Cage is trying to get some information where his Pig is and in order to do that, he must participate in a secret, underground fight club of restaurant workers.
Then again, I write about aliens, so who am I to scoff? But there had to be a reason for it. I’ve read reviews where people say the actual scenes weren’t important, it was the overall theme that was important. But writers don’t just do scenes for no reason. At least they shouldn’t. If one thing writing for a living for three decades has taught me it’s that every scene must serve a purpose. Actually, it should serve two: arc character and move the plot forward.
So what this scene of Cage putting his hands behind his back and getting pummeled while on the clock?
Because, besides moving the plot in terms of getting the next clue to where his pig is, it’s representative of grief. That grief is accepting pain and not fighting back. Of absorbing every horrible blow that is thrown at you and not battling it, but accepting, because that is the only way we can actually move forward in life. Cage suffered terrible grief, but while it beat him down, he persevered. Thus the scene actually makes great sense, despite stretching the bounds of credulity.
The same with him walking through the movie covered in blood and bruises. It’s an external representation of what he is experiencing emotionally.