3 1/2 Stars
The follow up to surprise hit ‘Undisputed 2’, is a near flawless Martial Arts film that doesn’t concern itself with an over-complicated plot and showcases mind boggling fight sequences. Story picks up with Uri Boyka in prison recovering from his knee injury incurred during the second film. His goal; to fight in a competition that is similar to jail Olympics in the ex-Soviet Republic of Georgia. The plot is just an excuse to stage some of the most visceral action scenes in memory. The ‘fight tournament’ sub-genre high watermark is ‘Enter the Dragon’ or arguably ‘Bloodsport’. Leaving in their wake hundreds of cheap knock-offs that have littered DVD shelves for decades, however ‘Undisputed 3’ transcends it’s limited budget and is on par with, if not better than those previously mentioned classics. Fight choreographer Larnell Stover and Director Isaac Florentine have infused the film with a Unique blend of action, some Hong Kong flavor and a touch of Sergio Leone.
Highlighted by a lively cast especially Scott Adkins sizzling star performance and Mykel Jenkins’s solid work. Their budding friendship is the heart of the film and exposes the human dimension in both fighters. A scene in which both men are locked in solitary confinement and have only each other to talk to, is beautifully acted and powerful. Adkins is a chameleon, he deftly handles the dramatic and physical requirements of the role. He has the charisma and physique of a young ‘Jean Claude Van Damme’ and top notch acting chops. Also noteworthy in a supporting role is the enlivened Mark Ivanir as the deliciously slimy money man, Gaga.
Having been a child of the 80’s I grew up with the Norris, Seagal, Van Damme action epics of the time. I was indoctrinated into ‘kung fu’ cinema at a very young age, and it’s a guilty pleasure of mine to this day. Unfortunately that also means that I’ve sat through a lot of straight-to-DVD junk over the last few decades, little gems like ‘Undisputed 3’ restore my faith in the genre. The film is part ‘Buddy Picture’, part ‘Fight flick’, and part ‘Prison Film’, complete with a sadistic warden. The fight choreography and stunt work is simply awesome, fueled by a blazing pace and good musical score.
Director: Isaac Florentine
Stars: Scott Adkins, Mykel Shannon Jenkins, Mark Ivanir
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