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Christopher Webster [Celluloid 07.26.10] movie review action martial arts

Year: 2010
Directors: Issac Florentine
Writers: David N. White
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: agentorange
Rating: 7 out of 10

[Editor's note: If you want to see an example of just how kick-ass the fighting in UD III is watch this fight clip and crank the volume.]

I may be new to the Undisputed series, but I ain't new to fight films - particulary those that go straight-to-video. Hell, I grew up in the era of straight-to-video. I remember a time where there wasn't any predjudice against them at all and any flick with badass cover art had the same chance of getting played as a blockbuster. Sure a lot of them were sequels to minor hits like Bloodsport or what-have-you, but as the years rolled on and more money got thrown into the STV market, some of these titles got even better than the originals.

Which brings us to Undisputed III, a film that gives STV tites a good name as is probably the best of the entire Undisputed series. Why is that? Two reasons: Scott Adkins is a fu**ing animal as Russian fighter, "Boyka," and director Issac Florentine knows that what we want is jaw-dropping, bone-crushing fight scenes with just enough story thrown in so we'll have time to run to the fridge and grab another beer.

Undisputed III is a paired-down affair, striped to just its essential elements. A fighter with a troubled past and something to prove takes on a nasty underground crime ring and their puppet fighter who doesn't play fair. So no, the story is nothing esepecially new, but hot-damn if the fight scenes aren't some of the best I've seen in a long while.

Choreographed by the uber talented Larnell Stovall (who incidently also handled the fight in that Mortal Combat short), the fights are long, fast paced and varied enought to keep you interested. They also feel very real and you'll wonder how many unexpected round-houses made contact during their filming. Ouch.

I think the final fight is something like 10 minutes long and it seriously leaves you wanting even more. To be fair though, director Isaac Florentine also deserves a lot of the credit here. His camera is fluid, he gets great coverage form all angles and makes great use of slow and fast motion to accentuate each and every blow. You can tell that everyone involved really tried to make UD III the ultimate fight movie.

Another thing I learned while watching UD III is that Scott Adkins doesn't just deliver a hammer of a right hook, but he can also act. Director Issac Florentine was kind enough to mail me a copy of last year's Ninja and watching both films back-to-back made me realize what an impressive transformation Adkins makes when he becomes Boyka. In Ninja, Adkins is a soft spoken unlikely hero with a heart of gold. In UD III, he convincingly tranmutates into one very scary Russian brawler.

The Undisputed series has come a long way since Wesley Snipes fought Ving Rhames back in 2002 and if the ending of Unisputed III gives us anything it's hope that there will be a few more bouts to come. Will Boyka be back? Hard to say, but I think his story is over. But whoever the next underdog fighter is, I will be happy to sit ring-side and watch the bloody beat down.

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