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Director Walter Hill's "Undisputed" is a great guy's movie. It's a
fight movie set in Sweetwater Prison in the Mohavje Desert, starring
tough guys Wesley Snipes and Ving Rhames. What distinguishes this guy's
movie are a couple things: the expert and lean direction of Hill, the
crisp and intelligent script by David Giler and Hill, and one of the
best boxing fight scenes ever done in the movies.
Ving Rhames plays former undisputed Heavyweight Champion James "Ice Man" Chambers, convicted of rape and stripped of his title and sentenced to serve his time in Sweetwater. While there he learns that Monroe Hutchen (Wesley Snipes) is the "undisputed" champ at Sweetwater, and he has been undefeated champion for ten years. For the Ice Man, there can be only one champion, and that would be himself. It is predictable that the two will fight at the end, and this is arranged by mobster inmate Mendy Ripstein (a very good Peter Falk). What is not predicable is that Giler and Hill make both Ice Man and Monroe admirable and fascinating characters. You have to credit Rhames and Snipes. Rhames takes what could have been a Mike Tyson caricature, and transformed him into a complex and empathic character. His Ice Man is vicious, crude, arrogant, but also both smart and articulate. Credit Rhames on several occasions for scaring us with the ruthlessness of his Ice Man, and for also surprising us with his understanding of his stature in life as a Heavyweight champion. Ice Man is definitely the more showy character. Snipes underplays it right as Monroe, a great foil to the Ice Man. Snipes's Monroe is not afraid. Monroe knows that "Any fighter can be beat on a given day...", and the game is how long you stay on top and be the best. Monroe is matter of fact, and always in control-- the last time he wasn't got him in prison. Ice and Monroe are both convicts that operate by a code of honor, and that makes all the difference in the movie. It's all about standing your ground, and whoever wins, wins. "Undisputed" also is an homage to boxing and it's history, because ultimately it is about two men seeing who is better on that particular day. There is something pure and whole about that, which is both appreciated and respected.
The final boxing match is awesome. Snipes is an accomplished martial artist and he trained with Emmanuel Stewart. Snipes looks amazing as a boxer-- body movement and combinations. Rhames also looks very impressive and fearsome. It's a 15 minute fight in a 90 minute movie. Walter Hill is the Man.
"Undisputed" is a no nonsense boxing movie that entertains and makes us think. And that is not bad for a very unpretentious movie.
Monroe Hutchens (Wesley Snipes) is the heavyweight champion of
Sweetwater, a maximum security prison. He was convicted to a life
sentence due to a passionate crime. Iceman Chambers (Ving Rhames) is
the heavyweight champion, who lost his title due to a rape conviction
to ten years in Sweetwater. Of course they will fight against each
other, in a very predictable and full of clichés screenplay.
The story of Iceman Chambers is basically what happened with Mike Tyson. Movies about prison are attractive most of the time and this one is no exception to the rule. The choreography of the fights are perfect, therefore fans of this sport will like it. Wesley Snipes looks indeed like a real boxing fighter. My vote is six.
Title (Brazil): "O Invencível" ("The Invincible")
Seems like an eternity since director Walter Hill ("48 HRS.", "Streets
Fire", "Southern Comfort") made a really good movie and his latest
"Undisputed" shows that Hill still has the skill to create a clever
"Undisputed" is the second movie about boxing that Hill has done, the first being his feature debut "Hard Times" that starred Charles Bronson and the late James Coburn in the mid-seventies.
The tale takes place at an isolated Arizona maximum security prison where a former heavyweight boxing champ (Rhames) is sent to serve a sentence for rape meets a counterpart (Snipes) who is an undefeated champ in the prison ranks and the opportunity to have the two fighters face each other in a bout arranged by a former mobster (Peter Falk) who still has mob connections outside the prison and a devoted fan of the sport.
And the result is a sharp and hard-hitting boxing drama with the fight being the center piece. Snipes and Rhames are terrific here and the supporting performances are just as good especially Michael Rooker, Wes Studi, and Falk, too.
"Undisputed" may not top "Rocky" or "Raging Bull" in being the best movie about the sport, but it deserves some mention.
When heavyweight champion of the world James "Iceman" Chambers is found
guilty of rape of a showgirl he is sent to a new prison in the
Californian desert where they send all the more unsavoury prisoners to
avoid contaminating those "only" convinced of lesser crimes. However
there already is an internal boxing contest within the prison and it
already has a champ of over 10 years Monroe Hutchens. Keen to
establish who's is bigger, Iceman shows him up in front of the other
inmates. To avoid a riot the warden puts Monroe in solitary while
Iceman continues to tough it out in prison. As his expensive legal team
prepare an appeal and defend all sorts of other actions, elderly
mobster Mendy Ripstein starts pulling the strings to put on the only
fight anyone wants to see Monroe v Iceman.
Starting with a solid 15 minutes of style and energy I wondering if the film would be able to keep the pace up but, despite turning it down a little bit, the film does essentially keep moving with energy and style right till the very end. And it is just as well because there isn't really any substance to talk of in this rather noisy affair. The main character is essentially the writer's take on Tyson but the film doesn't really do anything more interesting with it that just hang the suggested similarities out there Rhames may occasionally try to express something deeper than this but the material isn't there to help him. As it is though, Hill's direction and manner of keeping the screen busy and the camera moving helps inject life into what is really just a cross of clichés from sports movies and prison movies. It had enough to it to engage and entertain me without ever threatening to stick in my mind for much longer than the time it took to watch it.
The cast do a lot to help the impression of substance by providing lots of faces who put in effort. Rhames is a solid lead who does his Tyson impression well without ever lifting the material. Snipes matches him on this level by producing a simple performance but adding an impressive physical presence to the proceedings. The support cast are not all used that well but are essentially an impressive collection of well known faces who do add a sense of quality even if it doesn't deserve it. Falk was a strange but enjoyable find, while Rooker, Seda, Studi, Stevens, Lover and others all fill in around the edges.
Overall this is a fairly vacuous affair that gets by on huff, puff, energy and style and just about does it well enough to provide a distracting film without doing anything great. Two sets of genre clichés are pushed together and delivered with energy by Hill and his impressive cast and, while it isn't anything special it should at least provide brainless filler for 90 minutes.
Outstanding movie with prison combined with boxing. A heavyweight title holder(Ving Rhames)is sent to Sweetwater Prison on a rape charge. It doesn't take long for the movers and shakers to set up a match with the champ and the prison champ(Wesley Snipes). A battle of undisputed undefeated. Very good fight scenes and you almost feel the sweat. A little slow at times, but the big showdown is all worth it. It is obvious Snipes and Rhames worked hard to pull this off. Peter Falk plays a vulgar mouthed resident gangster that thinks he rules the prison. Also in the cast are: Fisher Stevens, Wes Studi and Michael Rooker. This one goes the distance.
Wesley Snipes stars as the boxing champ of Sweetwater Prison whose title
manhood are put at jeopardy when the true heavyweight champion (played by
Ving Rhames) lands in the cellblock for the rape of a showgirl (Rose
I enjoyed UNDISPUTED for the first thirty minutes or so but after that I became lost. I was looking for deeper character development than I ever got. We get to know Ving Rhames character the most (mainly because he's a replica of Mike Tyson) and he's the antagonist. We get introduced to several supporting characters (Wes Studi, Fisher Stevens, Peter Falk, Michael Rooker, Jon Seda) here and there for whatever reason. However, they're all a prison cliché.
The character we never get to know, oddly, is the hero, played by Wesley Snipes. We can only assume that Snipes is the hero because of his sensitive hobby of making houses out of toothpicks. Other than that, Snipes has only about twenty lines. It's weird. Rhames even though billed second has far more screen time than Snipes.
I can't help but feel that this film lost it in the editing room. Somehow this movie feels like half a movie. Like important parts have been chopped away. I just can't imagine writers Walter Hill and David Giler (ALIEN), or any writers for that matter, writing a script with such a non-dimensional lead character.
While action film veteran Walter Hill (48 HOURS; LAST MAN STANDING) has learned some stylish new tricks to filmmaking, they're not enough to save his latest effort. All in all, two incarcerated boxers go head to head, but it's the movie that gets K.O.'d. (C-)
As soon as this prison movie starts you realise it was directed by a
young inexperienced director who has been influenced by rap videos on
the MTV channel and multiple viewings of OZ . As soon as a character is
introduced BOOM a rap track starts and we see a caption giving the
characters name , their crime and date of sentence . One can't feeling
that this young director wanted to include a flashback scene but
possible litigation by HBO stopped him . The real bad news is that the
director of UNDISPUTED isn't a young hip director who has potential -
the director is Walter Hill and it's obvious his career is in free fall
as he bombards the audience with all types of choppy MTV effects
This wouldn't be so bad if there was a great storyline but the script doesn't even reach being mediocre and it's really quite bad . Heavyweight champ James " Iceman " Chambers is sentenced to 6 to 8 years for rape ( Gosh I wonder who that could be based on ? ) and the prison Mr Fix-it Mendy Ripstien arranges for Iceman to go head to head with prison champ Monroe Hutchen . I take it Ripstien is Jewish ? And he's sentenced for tax evasion ! Hey don't worry about clichéd stereotypes or anything like that . Oh and despite being a maximum security prison Mr Ripstien has friends who are white , Latino and African American . Even Hutchen has a colleague who's white . Hey anyone who wants to see what a success American ethnic diversity and multiculturalism is really must get themselves sentenced to some serious time in an American maximum security prison where everyone respects one another and never judge anyone on the colour of their skin
I suppose the laughable unreality of a melting pot inside an American prison stops everyone noticing the rather poor casting choices in this film . I notice Ving Rhames is very often filmed from the chest upwards and rarely takes off his shirt . Is this because the audience won't be fooled into believing a 42 year old man with a fair amount of flab is unconvincing as a heavyweight boxing champ ? I think it might . Wesley Snipes is well buffed but it's painfully obvious he's far too short to be considered a heavyweight and in reality he'd only be a middleweight in boxing terms . That said I doubt if the audience will be able to connect with either fighter anyway since one's a rapist and the other is a murderer so why should we be cheering on either man ?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Tells the story of a heavyweight champion boxer who ends up in prison
for murder.In the end he fights another great boxer and faces a tough
This film was delivered very well and should force its viewers to view this entertaining piece of well done action.This film is done with an outstanding bit of action.This film is emotional in parts and as a very delivered storyline that should entertain most of its audience.
This is by no means a masterpiece or flawless but it does have entertaining parts to keep this film a well delivered boxing film. This is reccomendable and is something you should check out its nothing like brilliance but the film is balanced and is viewable and is just well delivered.This film isn't appalling or anywhere near but I wouldn't say this film is exceptional either.
Overall I recommend it.
UNDISPUTED (2002) **1/2 Wesley Snipes, Ving Rhames, Peter Falk, Michael Rooker, Fisher Stevens, Jon Seda, Wes Studi, Denis Arndt, Ed Lover. Hard-hitting yet formulaic boxing-in-prison flick with professional pugilist and heavyweight world champ Rhames facing off with the maximum security's current in-stir (and undefeated) competitor Snipes (both in amazing physical shape and displaying enough testosterone for two flicks). Falk, at his crustiest, is a scene-stealing hoot as the aged Mafioso con that sets up the grudge match and gets the grease to the wheel. Filmmaker Walter Hill (who co-wrote the lean, mean screenplay with frequent collaborator David Giler ) proves to be a formidable genre helmsman but offers the viewer wanting more.
In the world of rank boxing, there are many notable fights which can be measured on one hand. But in the world of Cinamatic boxing there are dozens which have been made into Hollywood legends. In this release, called " Undisputed " the result was the creation of a boxing Classic. It is the story of the Heavyweight Champion of the World, George 'Iceman' Chambers (Ving Rhames) who has been arrested, convicted and sentenced to prison. Undefeated on the outside world, Chambers learns that at Sweetwater Prison, another man shares that distinguished title. That individual is Monroe Hutchen (Wesley Snipes) who hold the record of never having lost a boxing match. However, even though a fight between these two athletes is inevitable, the Warden moves to quash the event. However, Mendy Ripstein a Mafia gangster (Peter Falk) from the old days steps in, uses his considerable influence and the special match is back on. The entire confrontation is seen by officials as a potential explosion, the Captain of the guard, A.J.Mercker (Michael Rooker) believes he can control over 700 riotous inmates and one memorable fight to the finish. Jon Seda, Wes Studi, and Fisher Stevens as James 'Ratbag' Kroycek, add to the dramatic intensity and over all excitement which is the main-stay of this incredible film. With top notch acting and believability of the superior actors, (especially when Rhames and Snipes are equally matched) the result is one cage fight away from memorable entertainment. ****
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