The last time we saw the completely unsavory and anti-social Uri Boyka (Scott Adkins), he was getting completely messed up by imprisoned heavy weight champ George Chambers (Michael Jai-White) in director Isaac Florentine’s ‘Undisputed II’, a movie we personally thought was one of the best Straight to DVD flicks ever made. You can only imagine our joy when we hear on the wire that Adkins and Florentine will be reunited for a third Undisputed film ‘Undisputed III: Redemption’ and while I don’t think it’s quite as good as ‘Undisputed II’… The Michael Jai White factor is a sonofabitch to replace… it is still damn close and I believe it fully delivers what people who like to watch these kinds of movies, like me, are looking for in a beatemup action flick.
We can see the years haven’t been all that kind to Boyka who is now cleaning up dookey with his one good leg in his Russian prison while the new king of the local lockup fight game is the completely out of his mind Sykov (Esteban Cueto). Still, Boyka thinks he can kick that ass, especially considering the champ of the prison gets to make a special trip to a special underground prison fight tournament to fight for his freedom. A little knee rehab here, a haircut there and guess who is going to the big fight?
With his slimy promoter Gaga (Mark Ivanir) by his side, its off to some eastern bloc prison where eight of the greatest fighters that prisons have to offer will battle it out for their freedom while rich men make rich wages on the outcome. Though there are eight fighters total we will only concern ourselves with two others with one being Colombian prison champ and steroid infused lunatic Dolor (Marko Zaror) and loud mouthed and ridiculously obnoxious American prison champ Turbo (Mykel Shannon Jenkins). I gotta say though that Turbo’s obnoxiousness started to grow on me after a while.
So in a move that I’m sure will surprise no one, the fix is in. Maybe it was the fact that the other fighters had to do incredibly difficult back breaking labor while Dolor, the
home field champ, sat in a recliner reading Jane Austen, but our heroes figured out the 411 pretty quickly. So inequitable is this situation that Boyka and Turbo even form an odd, very shaky and unstable friendship, but if you know Boyka like I know Boyka, he is at least making some social progress.
Eventually it has to come down to the big fight, the battle between the crazy Colombian who is far to large to move as fast as he does, and the crazier Russian who is still working with only one good knee and tells us over and over again that he is the most complete fighter in the world. I’m not arguing with him but, you know, a drugged out George Chambers did kick that ass in the last movie. I’m just saying.
The only thing I can say is THANK GOD for Isaac Florentine. I’ve whined on and on about the death of the action flick in our mainstream cinemas since the demographic has opted for metrosexual vampires but this is a film director that is not only dedicated to the action genre but he’s damn good at his craft. I will say that I was a little disappointed by Florentine and Adkins teaming up in ‘Ninja’ but that was probably just my expectations being far too high for that film, but I had had high expectations for this one too and it didn’t disappoint at all.
I suppose if we had to be ‘critical’ of this movie we could say there really isn’t much to the story. We could also point out that the concept of a bunch of tough, crazed murderers in a fight tournament with the toughest and craziest of these murderers being granted their freedom is nothing short of insane. If anything the winner of this tournament should have his sentence tripled. And from what little I know about gambling, if heavy money from different sources gets put on one outcome, there will be complete and total hell to pay.
But that would be nitpicking and we just don’t do that here at the FCU. This movie is about dudes with 2% body fat beating the hell out of each other and looking like they know what they are doing, and to that end it does this one thing incredibly well. Scott Adkins never ceases to amaze me with incredible athleticism and things he’s able to pull off which just don’t seem physically possible without the aid of camera tricks and wires but there he goes, plain as day doing these things over and over again. Yes, we miss Michael Jai White’s presence in this film but Mykel Shannon Jenkins, Marko Zaror and Lateef Crowder and his phenomenal capoeira fighting style did compensate admirably for White’s absence.
While the fight sequences were uniformly excellent the movie just wasn’t a big fight demo. The story, while admittedly light in substance, was enough to carry the movie and make it interesting to watch. I mentioned in the last movie that the actors probably spend more time in the gym than in acting class but that doesn’t mean that they can’t act because the three main fighters, Adkins, Jenkins and Zaror, were very good in their roles and are all skilled actors to boot but if you look at them it is pretty clear that these cats spend a LOT of time in the gym. A lot.
It’s an action movie, it’s a good action movie and like any decent action movie worth its salt there are times it doesn’t make a lick of logical sense, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. There’s also no women in this movie because a woman in a movie like this would only get in the way unless she was there to kick ass too, and I don’t think they have co-ed prison in Eastern Bloc nations. All we are saying is that you really can’t go wrong with ‘Undisputed III’.