I think I have the tendency to write the longest reviews out of any of my fellow Movie Buzzers. I’m not saying that as some kind of accomplishment (actually I’d save a lot more of my time if I could get to my points quicker), but to make a point about this review of the movie Knockdown, a 2010 movie also known as The Bad Penny which is finally getting a release. My review is so short because I have so little to say about this bad movie.
St. Louis boxer Jack “The Ripper” Stemmons (Casey T. Evans) is an up-and-comer, but after a bookie named Frank (Tom Arnold) fixes one of his fights Stemmons loses his cool and goes after Frank. Stemmons is forced to flee to Bangkok, where he bums around and has sex with prostitute Nok (an incredibly annoying Bai Ling) as an underground fight promoter tries to get Stemmons to step back in the ring. He eventually opens a bar and is visited there by a former fan, to whom Stemmons tells his not particularly interesting life story.
I don’t know how this film took first prize at two film festivals (Beverly Hills Film Festival and the SoHo International Film Festival) last year. Besides a fantastically-designed opening credits sequence and a surprisingly dark Tom Arnold (who is really only in the film for about 10 minutes), this movie offers nothing that you haven’t already seen in much better thrillers. Even the above DVD cover looks like the cover of every direct-to-video action thriller from the 1990s. First time co-writer/director/producer Todd Bellanca has stretched a 20 minute plot into a 90 minute snoozer. Evans shows some personality and I’d love to see him in another film, but this movie doesn’t give him a fair chance to show anything worthwhile. As a side note, IMDb reports that Evans gained 97 pounds to play the older Jack Stemmons, which is surprising because there aren’t any scenes that show Stemmons’ girth that couldn’t have been achieved by a fat suit. I get method acting and all, but it’s unfortunate that Evans would do that to himself physically for such a bad movie. There are much better films about down-on-his-luck boxers out there.
Arc Entertainment, which is distributing Knockdown for its June 5 DVD release (it’s already out on VOD) and June 8th theatrical date, is known for distributing less-than-stellar films but has put out a few gems. This isn’t one of them.
Rating: Watch the opening credits sequence, then turn it off (2/10).