An aimless young man who is scalping tickets, gambling and drinking, agrees to coach a Little League team from the Cabrini Green housing project in Chicago as a condition of getting a loan from a friend.
At 18, Diana has a chip on her shoulder; she's close to expulsion from high school for fighting, her mother is dead, her dad is surly, the popular girls at school set her teeth on edge, she knows men can cause pain. When she picks up her younger brother at a Brooklyn gym where he boxes to please his father, she decides she wants to train. Hector, a coach, reluctantly agrees to teach her. It's soon clear to him that Diana has talent; he pushes her. She spends time with another young fighter, Adrian, who has a girlfriend, but Diana intrigues him and stirs real feelings he tries to articulate. She, too, must accommodate her toughness and ironic detachment to her feelings for him. Written by
In most sports movies, you'll have the corny story of triumph and it might be not too great. But this film is different. It uses it's independent edge (it won numerous awards at the Sundance and Caanes film festivals) to not be cornball, but to a good achievement. Michelle Rodriguez definately makes an credible debut as the troubled and always angry Diana, who decides a way to get out some of her aggression is in boxing, and it works, even when she has to face her boyfriend in the (improbable to be sure) ring. Better than I thought, but the liability is that Diana is always angry (so angry that any regular girl's worst day of PMS is Diana's best day) and she does some things to her family and friends that are very questionable, method and emotion wise which almost makes her not the best girl to emmulate. Pretty good, never-the-less. B+
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