Against The Ropes is, as you would have no doubt guessed from the title, a movie about boxing. It's also about one woman's struggle against the closed doors arena that is boxing promotion - think of Erin Brockovich meets Rocky... sorry, make that Rocky 5, and you'll be in the general movie-type ball park! This is Charles Dutton's (Alien 3, D-Tox, Gothika) directorial debut... but does that little fact mean I should go easy on what is a pretty tedious and uninspiring film? In my best Obi-Wan Kenobi voice I say, “I don't think so”! The rather simplistic storyline goes something like this...
Born into a life that revolves around everything boxing, Jackie Callen (Meg Ryan) has endured ridicule and dismissiveness. Why? Because she not only loves boxing, but she believes she understands boxing... and what goes into making a great boxer. As general dogsbody to a boxing promoter, Ms Callen is in fact the brains behind her boss' male-oriented business, and after some soul-searching she eventually snaps up the opportunity to buy out the contract of a rival promoter's has-been boxer, for the princely sum of one dollar. The challenge? To create a world-class fighter. And here's where the movie completely loses the plot! The has-been is a druggie loser... so Ms Callen decides to teach the “intricacies” of boxing life to Luthor Shaw (Omar Epps), instead! Under the guidance of veteran boxing trainer Felix Reynolds (Dutton), Shaw predictably starts wiping the floor with his opponents, and as he does so Callen's character gradually begins to change...Will Shaw get his title shot? Or will Callen's increasingly selfish behaviour scupper his chances? Will you even care?!
By far the most interesting feature in this movie is Meg Ryan herself; she looks a little different to my eyes, very “Barbie-doll like”, and I wonder if it's merely make-up. Aside from constantly trying to tell whether Miss Ryan has had a boob job/face lift/lip fill/Botox injection etc. or if it's just my imagination, the actual movie is a rather hum-drum - “we've been here a thousand times before” - affair; definitely not one of Meg Ryan's finest movies, and after the somewhat odd In The Cut I'm beginning to wonder if one of my favourite actresses is starting to lose the plot?
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