Undisputed Walter Hill

With Undisputed, veteran director/screenwriter Walter Hill (The Warriors, 48 Hours, Crossroads) wastes little time in setting up a fairly straightforward showdown scenario and getting to its resolution as quickly as possible. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, even though Undisputed feels even quicker than its 94-minute running time. Hill is unconcerned with sub-plots, twists and grandiose social commentary on boxing, violence or America's prison system — he wants to get two guys in a ring and have them beat the crap out of each other. The story is economically and quickly doled out — when undefeated heavyweight boxing champ James "Iceman" Chambers (Ving Rhames) is convicted of rape and sent to Sweetwater Prison, a prison that has its own undefeated inter-prison boxing champ in Monroe Hutchen (Wesley Snipes), the competition for top of the food chain starts immediately. Throw aging, slightly senile mob boss and boxing enthusiast Emmanuel Ripstein (the excellently Peter Faulk) dangling freedom and money into the mix and the ultimate showdown is never in doubt, and neither is its outcome. But despite Undisputed's predictability, it's still worth the watch — Rhames excels at playing the ultimate bad ass and here he seems to be going for supreme lord of bad asses. The fight scenes are violently shot, gritty and well designed, and Snipes has even less dialogue than in Blade, playing a more reflective, pensive bad ass as a foil to Rhames's belligerent champ. Obviously there are nods to Mike Tyson's story, and the beginnings of commentary on the way America deifies violent men who make their living through violence and are then rejected for knowing nothing else briefly pop up, but this is a boxing movie at heart and a good one. Extras: Brief interviews with Snipes and Rhames. (TVA)