Against The Ropes

Movie Review by Neils Hesse

Starring: Meg Ryan, Omar Epps, Tony Shalhoub, Timothy Daly, Charles S Dutton
Director: Charles Dutton

Jackie Kallen (Meg Ryan) has been watching boxing and has been around boxers since she was 6, being the daughter of a trainer and having an uncle who was a middleweight champ.

Several years later Jackie is working as a secretary to a boxing promoter but dreams of being a promoter herself as she is convinced that given the chance she could do a great job. After a dramatic confrontation with a well known but aggressive promoter Sam LaRocca (Tony Shalhoub), he offers to sell her a contract to a washed up, drug addicted boxer Devon Greene (Tory Kittles), which she accepts but signs the boxer’s drug dealer instead after witnessing him thoroughly beat her would be boxer.

Jackie signs the dealer Luther Shaw, who is very well played by Omar Epps, and gets him a trainer, Felix Reynolds played by Charles S Dutton (yes the director also acts in the film). He quickly progresses to being a major contender for the middleweight championship of the world.

Along the way there are heartaches and priorities change and this all happens to Jackie and the people around her with heartbreaking and uplifting effects.

Despite being a very good story AGAINST THE ROPES is unfortunately poorly handled by the director as he doesn’t steer the film to allow for proper character development and the working relationship between the boxer and promoter is not properly developed.

Meg Ryan is usually a good actress but in AGAINST THE ROPES she was either wrong for the part or she played it incorrectly and as a result her character comes across as far too weak.

Mildly entertaining this film feels too much like a run of the mill TV movie and is not worth the trip to the cinema.

4 out of 6 stars

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