Starring: Michael Jai White, Scott Adkins, Ben Cross, Eli Danker, Mark Ivanir, Ken Lerner
Synopsis: Former US Heavy-weight boxing champion, George Chambers, is in Russia making commercials for a Vodka company. While there he is framed for drug possession and sent to a maximum security prison, which acts as a stable for underground fighters for crimelord Gaga (Ivanir), who televises the fights at his casino. Gaga has orchestrated George’s arrest to pit him against his best fighter, Uri Boyka (Adkins), in a bid to generate some decent odds.
Undisputed 2 is a much better film than any DTV sequel to a movie nobody remembers deserves to be, and boasts two stars who are both excellent actors and screen-fighters.
Boyka is given a really impressive introduction, deep in the recesses of the prison he resides in his cell like a monk – even wearing a cowl, kneeling and praying. Adkins gives Boyka an incredible intensity, his eyes burning with rage all the time.
We catch up with George Chambers on the set of his latest commercial and he’s fluffing his lines in Russian. It’s a great piece of acting – one moment he’s all smiles, talking in Russian, but as soon as the director yells “cut” he’s all angry and frustrated. He’s an arrogant dick, to be quite honest and for the first half of the film it’s difficult to sympathise with the guy. He has the typical American attitude that his US citizenship is always going to get him out of trouble.
In fact we have more sympathy for his cell-mate, Steven Parker, played by British actor Ben Cross (Sarek in Star Trek). Steven is a junkie with 14 years left on his sentence. When George asks him if he ever thought about quitting drugs, he just sighs, “what for?” You can kind of see his point of view.
Boyka has been looking forward to crossing paths with Chambers. Like Gaga, Boyka’s been frustrated by the lack of decent opposition. He considers himself the best fighter in the world, and Top Dog at the prison. It doesn’t take long before there is a lot of animosity brewing between Boyka and Chambers, who believes that the rules don’t apply to him.
George finally agrees to fight Boyka in the ring once he realises that his manager Phil is working for Gaga and it’s his only chance of getting out. However things don’t go the way he’d planned and tragedy ensues.
The second half of the film brings the character of Crot (Eli Danker) into play. Eli Danker also appeared as the bad guy in Special Forces, but here he plays more of a mentor role to Chambers, helping him to prepare for his second fight and sharing a few nuggets of wisdom.
There are a number of prison movie clichés on show but Undisputed 2 handles the dramatic elements of it’s story very well, rather than just biding time between the fight scenes.
J.J. Perry is the fight choreographer for this film and he acquits himself admirably. Scott Adkins is an incredibly athletic guy and he gets to fly with a number of amazing kick and punch combos, while Isaac Florentine captures all the action without relying too heavily on editing techniques. Michael Jai White is also a great screen fighter, as can be seen in Blood and Bone, and his bouts with Boyka are excellent.
cuts the mustard on so many levels. It’s a great “prison movie”, a great fight-flick and contains two action stars in their ascendency, and has the best director working in DTV movies.
8 out of 10 (MikeOutWest)
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