Login

Against the Ropes Review

Image for Against the Ropes

A secretary at a boxing arena, Jackie Kallen (Ryan), is desperate to be taken seriously. After stumbling upon local tough guy Luther (Epps), she leads him to boxing stardom, despite opposition from the male-dominated establishment.

★★★★★

Loosely based on the true story of Jackie Kallen, who triumphed in the face of sexism to became one of the most successful female boxing managers of all time, this could have been a girl power classic. But right from the opening scene, which sees young Jackie's boxer uncle telling her "the world's an oyster and you're a pearl", it's clear we're going to be bitterly disappointed.

Jackie is a sassy, brassy lady (her wipe-clean animal print skirts and low-cut tops tell us this), and female viewers in particular are clearly supposed to be punching the air and whooping "go, girl!" as she makes her move from undervalued minion to hotshot manager. However, the weak script means her supposed wisecracks can be difficult to take seriously, which doesn't do an awful lot for the film's credibility.

Likewise director-actor Charles S. Dutton's character, Felix, the former trainer Jackie lures out of retirement to get her ghetto kid wannabe into shape. He's just as one-dimensional and predictable as the other leads - though none of the acting is poor. Throw in the blatant signposting of every plot turn and mood shift, and what could have been a gripping tale becomes hammy and overdone.

Not really. The cast are committed enough, but the superficial screenplay and telegraphed direction mean it fails to pack the required punch.