Undisputed

"Grim"

Undisputed Review


It's difficult to make yourself care who wins the big fight in the prison boxing B-movie "Undisputed." Should you root for Wesley Snipes as the former pro pug who beat his girlfriend's "other man" to death with his bare hands? Or should you root for Ving Rhames as the arrogant, angry world heavyweight champion, freshly stripped of his title and locked up after being convicted of rape?

The whole movie is little more than a slow build-up to their cage-match-style bout behind bars and razor wire in the last 10 minutes, so pick a horse -- if you can. Snipes spends most of the picture off-screen, locked in solitary confinement, gluing together a popsicle stick pagoda. So all we know about him is that he says he always keeps his cool (except, of course, for that one time he killed a man) and that he's been the champ of the underground big house boxing league (run by inmate mafioso Peter Falk) since he was sent up for life 10 years ago.

Meanwhile, new arrival Rhames spends the movie blustering around the prison yard, bullying everyone from the cell block sissy to prison gang leaders to the spineless warden.

It's not entirely unintentional that neither of these guys is hero material. Co-writer and director Walter Hill ("48 Hrs," "Supernova") premeditates this moral and culpable ambiguity, daring the audience to accept these convicts on prison terms, under which it's taboo to ask "What are you in for?" I admire Hill for not wanting his characters to be clear-cut and easily pigeon-holed.

But this vagueness also has the unintended effect of leaving Snipes and Rhames little to do beyond talking smack in tough-guy whispers and acting with their sullen jowls and meaty shoulders.

Overly stylized with lots of flash black-and-white freeze frames reminiscent of a pseudo-hip luxury car commercial, "Undisputed" is at its best when there's talk of boxing (Falk chews scenery in amusing rants about "the old days" of Lewis and Marciano). But the film is at its worst when it's actually inside the ring. Hundreds of combinations are landed in every bout, yet there's never any blood, and there are only two sound effects to chose from for every single punch, no matter how hard they're thrown or where they land on either man's body.

Worse yet, fights are poorly photographed. The camera never gets close enough to see a single blow truly connect. It seems as if half the time the fighter with the advantage has his back to the screen, and the cinematographer spends the other half up in the prison gym stands, watching the slugfest from a distance through the thick bars around the ring.

The talents of Snipes, Rhames and Hill aren't entirely wasted on "Undisputed," but none of them seems to have invested much of themselves in making this movie memorable -- and, well, it's not.



Undisputed

Facts and Figures

Run time: 94 mins

In Theaters: Friday 23rd August 2002

Box Office USA: $12.3M

Box Office Worldwide: $12.4M

Budget: $20M

Distributed by: Miramax Films

Production compaines: Miramax Films, Amen Ra Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 48%
Fresh: 50 Rotten: 55

IMDB: 6.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Monroe Hutchen, as George 'Iceman' Chambers, as Mendy Ripstein, as A.J. Mercker, as Jesus 'Chuy' Campos, Ken Medlock as Guard 1, as Mingo Pace, as James 'Ratbag' Kroycek, as Yank Lewis, as Darlene Early, Johnny Williams as Al, Joe D'Angerio as Vinnie, Nils Allen Stewart as Vern Van Zant, as Warden Lipscom, Jim Lampley as Himeself, Ed Lover as Marvin Bonds, as Gat Boyz Rapper 1, Michael Bailey Smith as Skinhead, as Tawnee Rawlins

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

Zoolander 2 Movie Review

With virtually the same blend of wit and idiocy as the 2001 original, this fashion-scene...

A Bigger Splash Movie Review

A Bigger Splash Movie Review

Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino (I Am Love) reteams with Tilda Swinton for this fresh, tricky...

Deadpool Movie Review

Deadpool Movie Review

Both the filmmakers and the characters on-screen are so pleased with themselves that this might...

Trumbo Movie Review

Trumbo Movie Review

An entertaining film about sobering true events, this is the story of notorious screenwriter Dalton...

Goosebumps Movie Review

Goosebumps Movie Review

Mixing the action, comedy and horror from novelist R.L. Stein's books into a family-friendly package,...

Dad's Army Movie Review

Dad's Army Movie Review

The beloved 1970s British sit-com gets the big screen treatment, although there's been very little...

Spotlight Movie Review

Spotlight Movie Review

This film demonstrates that you don't need guns to make an exciting thriller. Based on...

Advertisement
13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi Movie Review

Not the subtlest director working in Hollywood, Michael Bay brings his surging machismo to this...

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

Dirty Grandpa Movie Review

There's nothing clever about this deliberately rude and vulgar comedy, but certain audiences will find...

The Big Short Movie Review

The Big Short Movie Review

Smart and snappy, this comedy is one of the scariest films of the year, using...

The 5th Wave Movie Review

The 5th Wave Movie Review

Also based on the first in a trilogy of post-apocalyptic teen novels, this thriller feels...

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ride Along 2 Movie Review

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart reteam for a sequel no one really asked for, following...

Room Movie Review

Room Movie Review

One of the most extraordinary films of the year, this drama cleverly weaves in events...

Creed Movie Review

Creed Movie Review

While this film is basically Rocky VII, it's also much more than that, and perhaps...

A Perfect Day Movie Review

A Perfect Day Movie Review

An irreverent comedy in the style of the original M.A.S.H., this wartime romp takes an...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.