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(Review originally written at 4 September 2006)

No wonder this movie never got a world wide release. It's a simple made little movie that tries to be original in several different ways but fails at it in about every way possible.

This movie is supposed to be a fake documentary, a so called mockumentary, that focuses on the build up to a title-boxing match, set in London, between the champion Jose Mendez (Michael Pena) and the underdog and milkman Jimmy 'The Calcium Kid' Connelly. It makes you wonder that if this is supposed to be a fake documentary, than why isn't it made in documentary style. It uses movie camera positions, lighting and editing, complete with cuts and different positions and a chronological scene build up. Basically the only way they tried to make it look a bit like a documentary, is by adding a 'camera' voice-over and they let the camera being attacked and talked into a couple of times. It's really lame and it certainly doesn't add to the credibility or realism of the movie. The movie as a whole is hard to take serious since it goes comically so over-the-top that it isn't even good as a funny one. The humor is lame and simple, the sort of stuff a 9-year would normally come up with.

The movie is made in 'new-English style'. The kind of style which Guy Ritchie first began to use in his movies. Fast editing, fast pace, a cool style and music, over-the-top character and lots of humor. This is probably the only reason why this movie still remains a perfectly watchable one. It however does not always work out perfect. The characters for instance are all far from likable and/or comical. The humor itself on its own is also quite simple and awkward. This movie is far from funny or clever.

The movie is filled with surprising many good and well known actors, for such a small movie as this one. The material and dialog they have to work with however isn't world class and the barely manage to make certain sequences and situations to still work out. Most of the actors also feel out of place. Orlando Bloom certainly isn't in his element as normal and simple everyday person. He just isn't the greatest comical talent around, which shows in this movie.

Reading the premise of this movie, a inexperienced underdog against the boxing champion, one could immediately scream; "Rocky" ripoff! It certainly is true that this movie is far from original and the fact that the movie literally also spoofs some moments and entire sequences, completely with the same music, from the Rocky movies doesn't help to make this movie an original one that you can take serious as a boxing movie, not even as a comical meant to be one. In the end the movie still tries to take a surprising and non-formulaic twist but the twist is far from good, interesting or funny for that mater. As a matter of fact it gives the movie a bad aftertaste.

A failed movie on many accounts. Still somewhat watchable thanks to its style.

5/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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