Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Undisputed

posted by rkumar
D
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
Profanity:Very strong prison language including racist language
Nudity/Sex:References to rape and prison sex
Alcohol/Drugs:Mild
Violence/Scariness:Prison fight violence, boxing violence
Diversity Issues:Diverse characters, even racist characters, show respect and loyalty
Movie Release Date:2002

There is more plot and character development in Michael Jackson’s music video for “Beat It” than in “Undisputed,” a forgettable prison boxing movie.

“Iceman” (Ving Rhames), the world heavyweight champion, is convicted of rape and sent to a maximum security prison. Monroe (Wesley Snipes), a former heavyweight contender, is the undefeated champion in the inter-prison division. They fight each other. That isn’t a summary of the movie – that is the movie. There is some flash and attitude, but it is all on the surface.

The boxers fight in a cage rimmed with barbed wire. That makes for some cool shots through the swirls, but it doesn’t make any sense. There’s an escape risk in the middle of a boxing match with all the guards standing there watching? The movie avoids having to show us anything about the characters by just telling us everything we need to know about them with words superimposed on the screen. When the prisoners start banging their cups in the mess hall, the oldest of prison movie clichés, one guard says to another, “These dumb ****s have been watching too many prison movies.” If only they had been paying attention, they could have learned how to make this one better.

Sports movies (and prison movies, and, come to think of it, most movies) work well when they show us a metaphorical journey involving risk, learning, sacrifice and growth. There’s none of that here. Iceman and Monroe are unchanged from beginning to end. We hear that Iceman is a strong offensive boxer, so we expect to see Monroe develop a strategy to put him on the defense. Nope. Iceman says he is not guilty of the rape, so we figure he’s going to have to accept responsibility. Nope. Monroe says that he has learned to live entirely inside himself, rely only on himself, and stay in control at all times, so we expect to see him have to rely on someone else. Nope. Some big deal is made about having the big fight according to the old rules from the bare-knuckle days, but then the guy organizing the fight changes his mind and decides they will use gloves. Except for one guy who dies, everyone ends up pretty much where they started.

All that’s left, then, is the boxing. There are some powerful moments, but they, too, are flash without substance, and show no real understanding of the sport.

Parents should know that the movie has extremely strong language (including the n-word in the soundtrack), violent confrontations, references to rape and prison sex, and corrupt officials. Some viewers will be concerned about implications that a rape survivor may be lying about what happened.

Families who see this movie should talk about what it meant to Monroe and Iceman to be the champion. How were their ways of coping similar and how were they different?

Families who enjoy this movie will enjoy some of the classic boxing movies, like “Body and Soul,” “Golden Boy,” “Requiem for a Heavyweight,” “Rocky” and “Raging Bull.”



Previous Posts

Black or White
Writer-director Mike Binder sure likes to get Kevin Costner drunk. As in his uneven but impressive "The Upside of Anger," Binder once again has Costner playing a man who is a little lost and a usual

posted 5:58:45pm Jan. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Black Sea
Two comments made by characters in this film summarize what it is that makes submarine stories so instantly compelling. "Outside is just dark, cold, and death," says one. "We all live together or

posted 3:51:06pm Jan. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: Ira Glass Talks to "Boyhood's" Richard Linklater and Ellar Coltrane
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/D6mwbnSIk4c" frameborder="0"] "Boyhood" writer/director Richard Linkater and star Ellar Coltrane talk to "This American Life's" Ira Glass about making the film over a twelve year period that began when Coltrane was six years old.

posted 9:59:48am Jan. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Super Bowl Commercials 2015: Highlights and Previews
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/P6K0siUb5Ts?rel=0" frameborder="0"] Which one are you looking forward to?

posted 9:41:33am Jan. 29, 2015 | read full post »

For the First Time at Sundance: A Panel on Faith and Films
The acclaimed Sundance Film Festival, where ground-breaking films and indie favorites often premiere, will have its first-ever panel discussion of faith and films this week. “Hollywood reflects soci

posted 3:37:53pm Jan. 28, 2015 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.