Undisputed

A Film Review By Jason L. King

Rating:Rated R for strong language,
Starring: Wesley Snipes, Ving Rhames, Peter Faulk, Michael Rooker
Directed By:Walter Hill

Final Grade:

It was 3 AM at North Grand 5 when I fired up the projector and begin watching Undisputed I was not expecting much. The reviews I had heard were nothing but bad, and to be honest I hadn’t really heard a single person who either
1. Knew what Undisputed was
2. Cared
3. Had anything promising to say about it.
After downing enough Vanilla Coke and Nerds Ropes to complete my caffine/sugar rush I had finally made it through the previews. But by the time the movie started I was dead tired and hoped that Undisputed could keep my interest sparked. My hopes were let down.

Undisputed is the story of boxer James “Iceman” Chambers’ (Ving Rhames) stay at Sweetwater prison. Chambers was sent there due to a rape sentence. During his stay at the famous prison he meets the one man who may be able to take away Chambers undefeated record, Monroe Hutchinson (Wesley Snipes).

I’d love to find a way to jazz up the plot more than the above description but that is flat out it. Undisputed is possibly the worst plot I have seen in a while. I thought of it as Rocky VI, without Rocky and set in prison. It set itself up to be one of those “root for the underdog” type movies, but it failed miserably. The movie ends exactly how you figured it would, and the start of the movie comes as abruptly as it started. It was filled with horrible transitions between the past and present lives of both former boxers, such as this corny overlay of a cell block or transitions of the supposed “Chambers rape victim” talking. Plain and simple it didn’t work for them.

Now despite the all the bad, I did find something redeeming in it. Ving Rhames was actually great in the pointless role he had. In fact he made the film nearly worth watching. Rhames has proven himself in the past and will continue to in the future I am sure, but despite the great effort he put forth in Undisputed I can’t quite say he made the right choice with this film. As for Rhames co-star, Wesley Snipes, I’m not so eager to give him the thumbs up on acting. Snipes is more of a bore to watch on the screen than I ever imagined he could be. He tries to be the calm calculating underdog. Maybe it was the horrible script, but all in all, Snipes just didn’t pull it off. I think that in the end I was supposed to cheer for him in the final boxing match, but I really didn’t care who won. In fact I hoped they both beat themselves to death.

By the time I made it through Undisputed I felt like I had gone 15 rounds with a bad film. By the time I got around to writing the review, it felt as though I relived those 15 rounds. Now battered, brusied and stupider, I write this review and thank the Lord that Undisputed will only be a one-week showing at North Grand 5, so not too many people go and check this flick out. If you like boxing, this isn’t the film for you. Go rent any classic Rocky film. Even Rocky V would prove to be more of an enjoyment than watching Undisputed and for those of you who remember Rocky V that isn’t a compliment.

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