Undisputed | Chicago Reader


Director Walter Hill returns to the pugilism of his first film, Hard Times (1975), with this drama about a maximum-security prison in the Mojave Desert where the warden has sanctioned boxing matches between the inmates. Wesley Snipes plays a taciturn convict with 67 wins and no losses; a more complex character, if only because of his big mouth (“people play baseball, nobody plays boxing”), is the world heavyweight champ (Ving Rhames), who arrives with a rape conviction and serious adjustment issues. Yet Peter Falk nearly steals the film as the slightly senile old-school con who sets up the climactic bout between the two men. As in Hard Times, the fighters are caged, with steep tiers of spectators looking down, but in the earlier film each punch had its own sound, whereas here every blow sounds like SUVs colliding. With Jon Seda, Wes Studi, Michael Rooker, Fisher Stevens, and Master P. 90 min.

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