Saturday, August 26, 2017

What's On Netflix?: BOYKA: UNDISPUTED

Welcome to another installment of WHAT'S ON NETFLIX?, where we pick out a film or series currently playing on Netflix and review it for the fans. This week's pick is the 2016 sports sequel BOYKA: UNDISPUTED.

I've written here before about the main problem I have with modern sports movies. They're now so focused on kicking the audience in the feels with all the awful struggles that the hero of the moment endures to get to his final victory, that by the time that victory comes around the audience doesn't cheer, so much as heave a sigh of relief for having survived the trip. But there's another way a sports movie can go wrong, as well: they can focus so heavily on the sport in question, that the plot becomes little more than filler material.

This is the mistake made by Boyka, the fourth film in the Undisputed franchise, and that series' third unnecessary sequel. After three movies I have yet to care about the Russian jailbird and MMA fighter Yuri Boyka (Scott Adkins); the character always comes off as the typical parody of a professional fighter as envisioned by someone who peaked in high school. Sure, he's got muscles out to here and can hand out beat-downs like they were autographs, but outside of these films' admittedly thrilling fight sequences, it never feels like the movie isn't just killing time until Boyka starts hitting people again.

It doesn't help that Boyka's plot is as predictable as they come. Following the events of the previous two films, Boyka is living in Ukraine, fighting in underground matches and trying to go legit. As the film opens, he gets his chance: scouts from an upcoming tournament in Budapest will be at his next fight. If he can impress them, he'll get invited to the show. So Boyka goes to his next fight, utterly demolishes his opponent -- seriously, it's like watching any given character from Dragonball Z fight a normal person -- and gets his invite. Then, a wrinkle: Boyka's opponent had to be taken to the hospital following the fight, where he wastes no time in giving up the ghost. Musclebound wrecking machine though Boyka is, he's not without conscience, and is appropriately upset by this turn of events. Surprising absolutely no one, it turns out the opponent (his name was Victor, by the way) had a wife back home in Mother Russia.

If this plot sounds familiar to you, then you can guess literally everything that comes after this point. I won't even bother confirming your suspicions here; just trust me when I say that your guesses are either 100-percent spot on, or so close that it makes no difference. And when the movie isn't following its well-worn path through its plot points, it's running on a treadmill. I lost count of the number of scenes in this movie that follow this same pattern: Boyka goes to a place. A Random Russian Jackass (RRJ) walks up and behaves according to type. Boyka greets the RRJ in customary fashion -- "face, meet fist" -- and goes off to another place to repeat the cycle. It's as though we need to be constantly reminded of what a champion butt-kicker Boyka is.

There's a line that comes early in the 1998 Disney movie Mulan that I was reminded of while watching this movie. After disguising herself in men's clothes and arriving at the Chinese army camp for the first time, Mulan is greeted by one of the other soldiers and freezes, afraid she'll blow her cover once she speaks. Trying to offer encouragement, her little dragon buddy Mushu begins whispering in her ear. "Punch him!" Mushu cries, "Punch him! That's how men say 'Hello'!" Writer David N. White must have had that line, or something very much like it, in mind when he wrote this script. This is a parody of an action movie.

So I can't say I'm terribly disappointed that this will likely be the last film in the series. Unfortunate as it is that video piracy may have put an end to the saga of "Boyka, the most complete fighter in the world", as our own Marla Reed reported a while ago, I think I can live without any more installments in this particular story. Boyka does little more than reaffirm my opinion that the original Undisputed (2002), which was about boxing, not MMA, and starred Wesley Snipes and Ving Rhames, is the best in this series. Boyka, like its two predecessors, is all muscle, with only a pale imitation of a heart, and no brain.

Boyka: Undisputed is rated R for brutal violence and language throughout.

Robert's Score: 0 / 10

Make sure to check us out and like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram for all of our reviews, news, trailers, and much, much more!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment