Undisputed - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Undisputed Reviews

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½ January 2, 2016
Putting action stars Wesley Snipes and Ving Rhames together under the direction of Walter Hill, Undisputed sounded like a perfectly undemanding action film.

I went into Undisputed with the wrong expectations. I had incorrectly guessed that the film would be an action movie centred on fighting of some kind, not expecting that it would turn out to be a sports film. I was willing to accept the unexpected result as I love a good boxing film, but I'm hesitant to say that Undisputed qualifies in that field.
With Undisputed, Walter Hill set out to make a boxing film which had no underlying symbolism. His film was intended to be strictly "one that's actually about boxing and not a metaphor", yet the actual amount of the film which is about boxing proves to be minimal. Despite this claim, Undisputed spends way too match of the film focusing on George "Iceman" Chambers in his plight to maintain his innocence and the negotiations around his release. Though there is nothing wrong with the acting in these scenes, Walter Hill's desire to focus on boxing doesn't prove to hold up yet it also means that the dramatic depth of it all is limited, so his directorial work seems truly misguided.
Considering the generic contract promised by a film which casts both Ving Rhames and especially Wesley Snipes in the leading roles, I would have expected that Undisputed would follow the roots of a guilty pleasure genre picture far more than a pretentious drama. Unfortunately, that's not the path Undisputed chooses to follow. Both Ving Rhames and Wesley Snipes are prominent stars who portray essential characters in Undisputed, but the balance between focus is far from equal. What little depth there is proves to focus on Iceman with minimal time given to Monroe "Undisputed" Hutchens. If there was an equal balance between the characterizations of these two champions going head to head then perhaps things wouldn't drag on so much and maybe Wesley Snipes would be more of an engaging screen presence, but the minimal time he gets puts him into the final fight scene and little else while Ving Rhames is left to hold everything else up. If the film made greater use of the star power it had present then maybe it could have been a stronger dramatic piece, or better yet if it actually saw fit to follow a more energetic and inspiring boxing formula with greater conflict between the main characters, training montages and actual grit that comes with the prison context of the story then it could have been the guilty pleasure audiences would have been hoping for. However, that hope remains a distant dream for those watching Undisputed.
Since the entire film spends time building up to its climactic boxing match, the majority of commentary must be focused on that. Ultimately, it is far from satisfactory. It is arguably the greatest part of the film, but it is rife with technical faults. The two most major ones are the sounds and camerawork. From the beginning of Undisputed when it depicts its first boxing match, viewers are forced to confront the fact that someone thought it to be most appropriate to use the exact same sound effects again and again for when punches are landed. The same unrealistic contact blow sound effect is used with such heavy repetition that it hits viewers over the head like the many punches the characters take. There is no variation in the effect, no matter how light or heavy each punch turns out to be. And to add to it, the cinematography is less than stellar. Though the entire boxing match is captured with wide angles and plenty of long-shots, much of the cinematography films everything from behind bars. Attempting to give viewers the feeling of actually being there to witness the climactic boxing match, viewers must watch the fight as the camera pans along with metal bars in the way for too much of the fight. There are rare moments where you can see it clearly, but most of the time things are captured from the perspective of the crowd. My assumption would be that the intend of this is to add realism to the film, but considering that nobody saw fit to make the sound effects or fight choreography any more realistic I can't see why they would focus on this one element when it just gets in the way of Undisputed's action scenes.
But even though Undisputed fails to truly capitalize on its cast, Ving Rhames proves a solid lead. There is no way to be certain whether or not George "Iceman" Chambers is truly a guilty criminal or not because Ving Rhames consistently keeps a line of mystey present, balancing intimidation with honesty to the point that he seems fit to be in prison yet not a criminal. He has elements of egotism to him which he uses to fuel the badass nature of the character, yet he restrains it enough not to seem like a straightforward antagonist. Despite the repetitive material in Undisputed, Ving Rhames' natural aggressive charisma and boxing skills make him a fitting lead.
I wish I could say the same thing about Wesley Snipes, but the material gives him little screen time and no room to actually put any meaning into the character. In the few scenes he actually has, Wesley Snipes plays out as if he has a dead spirit. Yet rather than diverting this into the notion of being damaged by the wreckage of his past and the harsh reality of prison, he is simply stuck in repetitive melancholy which fails to put him on the same pedestal as Ving Rhames. This means that the badass actor who fought Sylvester Stallone in Demolition Man (1993) and hunted vampires in Blade (1998) has nothing to do in Undisputed aside from deliver a select few punches. And like I said, the sound effects and loose choreography limit their impact.

So Undisputed desires to be a proud B-movie and boasts Ving Rhames' star power, but with a prolonged story which stretches on for too long in a short running time of 94 minutes and little use of grit, action or Wesley Snipes to sustain it, there is ultimately little satisfaction.
August 30, 2015
This movie is only watchable because of Ving Rhaemes and Wesley Snipes. I give it one star for each of them. Else, it's frustrating to sit and watch. It's a clichéd poorly written and directed movie.
August 2, 2015
didn't really connect, snipes wasn't super interesting and rhames wasn't really a villain. easy to see why this film never connected with the audiences.
June 26, 2015
Good popcorn viewer.nothing more but that's enough.
½ February 17, 2015
2/16/2015: An ok movie. A pretty good storyline, but the choreography wasn't that great. They don't compare to those in the Rocky films at all.
January 31, 2015
Writer/Director Walter Hill has a funny quote about his film, "Some say Hollywood movies that are made about boxing are just metaphors for other things, I think I've made one that's actually about boxing and not a metaphor." And it's the films' unpretentious, stripped down luddite approach that's it's real charm. Wesley Snipes plays the prison boxing champion Monroe "Undisputed" Hutchens when a Mike Tyson-like world heavyweight champion, Ving Rhames, is sent to the same prison over a Robin Givens-like incident. Rhames is great as the full-of-himself arrogant George "Iceman" Chambers, but the best performance in the film belongs to Peter Falk as aging mafia boss Mendy Ripstein. Ripstein's mind is starting to fail him, but his mind is sharp as a tack when it comes to boxing and using his influence arranges for a secret boxing match between the two champions fighting under London Prize Ring Rules, which predated the Queensberry rules. The film follows the simple formula of Rhames as the loudmouth bad guy and Snipes as the tightlipped underdog hero of the prison, all building to the climactic boxing match. There's nothing terribly original about this story, but Walter Hill does this sort of stripped down action film better than anyone and Rhames, Snipes and particularly Falk bring an amount of gravitas to the film that really do make this film something special for fans of boxing pictures. The colorful supporting cast includes Michael Rooker, Wes Studi, Fisher Stevens, Ed Lover, Master P and Peter Jason. There has been two sequels made to this film, which maybe makes me think that this film may actually have the fan base that it deserves.
December 1, 2014
I still love this movie. id hav cast Seagal as the champ tho.
September 27, 2014
It totally lacks of suspance and atmosphere. It could really be something better.
½ September 5, 2014
En el sistema penitenciario se ha instalado un campeonato de boxeo con regulaciones profesionales. Por más de diez años Monroe Hutchen (Wesley Snipes) es el campeón invicto. El campeón mundial de pesos pesados, James 'Iceman' Chambers (Ving Rhames) va a parar a prisión por un crimen. Los celos al saber que Monroe es el campeón dentro de la prisión, hacen que Iceman esté decidido enfrentarse, marcar su territorio, e inclusive negociar con mafias que regulan la prisión su libertad a cambio de demostrarse como el mejor. Por su parte,Monroe no teme un enfrentamiento con el campeón del mundo. No tuvo mucho apoyo de los críticos, pero a mi me gustó mucho.
March 23, 2014
Awesome movie!! It was intense and action-packed!! The film had great fight scenes and will keep you on the edge of your seat!! The cast was absolutely great, especially Wesley Snipes which owns his role!! If you like boxing movies, than you will enjoy this!! If you dont like boxing movies that does not have non-stop action, than you might want to sit this one out!! This is one of the best boxing movies of all-time!! This is a must-see!!
February 24, 2014
I thought it was a good action pack movie. Good story line
Super Reviewer
December 9, 2013
The Mike Tyson story this could be, Mr Chambers (Rhames) goes to jail for an accusation of rape and becomes an even bigger media typhoon than he was before. At first I didn't think much of the film to be honest, it was cliched and kinda boring really plus Rhames as 'Chambers' was an annoying character who you wanted to see beaten.

I soon discovered that my feelings towards Chambers actually fuelled my enjoyment as the film continues and Snipes character 'Monroe' comes into play. The tense build up between the two up to the obvious finale does get you going. Lets not get over excited here this is your typical 'Rocky-ish' story with all the usual characters, dialog and scenes, not original but a good beat em up when the fists fly.

The final fight is well done and you do feel the blows as Snipes and Rhames match up and sweat over each other, I'm pretty sure Rhames would win in a real fight though as he looks pretty darn solid.
November 5, 2013
when nothing is on TV one can watch it. its a complete timepass movie.
½ May 18, 2013
This is not the genre of movies I like to watch, therefore I wasn't very interested about it. I liked the fact that it had a story, and the main characters had one of their own too. I thought this movie was going to be just about boxing and fighting, but instead, it had about two fights in total. Which kind of disappointed me. Overall, it bored me most of the times, but at least it had a decent story for this type of movie and some decent acting as well.
February 24, 2013
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January 9, 2013
Ghetti che fanno a botte
December 31, 2012
this is a brilliant film
December 7, 2012
Worth finding and watching!
½ October 27, 2012
Least to say the script is so lame and so much predictive â" nothing interesting. But Hill has his foot print left throughout the movie and he had managed to put it to the upper B class without a doubt.
October 25, 2012
absolutely dreadful.
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