In Walter Hill’s Undisputed, heavyweight champion James “Iceman” Chambers (Ving Rhames) gets six-to-ten for aggravated rape and finds more than his title challenged when he butts heads with Monroe Hutchen (a wasted Wesley Snipes) at a Mojave Desert prison complex. The Iceman, a self-dubbed “big, bad, black motherfucker,” naturally scoffs at his lawyer’s advice (the Johnnie Cochran drone belts “We need to get your black ass out of here and back in the ring!”), making enemies at every turn. It’s only a matter of time before the Iceman’s ego melts but to what effect? Prison is a secular community so the Iceman/Hutchen fight becomes the stuff of rumors. Hutchen, a prison lifer, is shabbily portrayed as some Zen master seemingly content with that rumor. Watching the underrated Hill strain to “keep it real” makes Undisputed a humorous train wreck. What with the rapid-fire editing and incessant Cash Money Millionaires soundtrack, this vigorous, 90-minute exercise could pass for Mike Tyson’s E! True Hollywood Story. In the end, there’s nothing hiding beneath all the brio. To their credit, the cast has fun chomping on the film’s scenery. As Mendy Ripstein, Peter Falk vies for Joe Pesci’s Goodfellas fucks-per-minute record as an aging mafioso with insider connections.
- Walter Hill
- David Giler, Walter Hill
- Wesley Snipes, Ving Rhames, Denis Arndt, Peter Falk, Jon Seda, Fisher Stevens, Wes Studi, Johnny Williams, Dayton Callie
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