Undisputed (film)

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Undisputed (movie poster).jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Walter Hill
Produced by Walter Hill
Wesley Snipes
Brad Krevoy
Written by Walter Hill
David Giler
Starring Wesley Snipes
Ving Rhames
Peter Falk
Michael Rooker
Jon Seda
Wes Studi
Music by Stanley Clarke
Cinematography Lloyd Ahern II
Edited by Freeman A. Davies
Phil Norden
Distributed by Miramax Films
Release dates
  • August 23, 2002 (2002-08-23)
Running time
96 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $15-$20 million [1][2]
Box office $15,220,548[2]
64,579 admissions (France)[3]

Undisputed is a 2002 American drama sports film written, produced and directed by Walter Hill and starring Wesley Snipes and Ving Rhames. It was released in the United States on August 23, 2002.

The film performed poorly at the box-office and received mixed reviews from critics; nevertheless it later found success in the home video market and began a film saga with a direct-to-video sequel without any of the original cast members, Undisputed II: Last Man Standing, which was released in 2006. A second sequel, Undisputed III: Redemption, was released in 2010, and follows Undisputed II's Yuri Boyka as the main character. A third sequel, again focusing on the latter character, Boyka: Undisputed, is set to be released in 2016.


Undisputed heavyweight boxing champion George "Iceman" Chambers (Rhames) is convicted of rape and sentenced to a new prison in the desert called Sweetwater. The high-security facility is populated by hardened criminals. Unaware of the prison's ways and its unique hierarchy, the pompous and bratty Chambers tries to impress upon the inmates his status as a champion boxer.

The prison camp, within its own walls, has a riveting competition on which a betting syndicate thrives. Criminals fight in boxing matches with very lax rules, thus making it a very addictive and lucrative venture for the syndicate while their conscience is kept at bay. The most popular boxer behind bars is Sweetwater's undefeated Monroe Hutchens (Snipes), who ends up in solitary confinement after Chambers picks a fight with him in the mess hall.

Sensing the brewing hatred for the heavyweight champion, an incarcerated mob boss named Ripstein (Falk) senses potential in a match between the modest Hutchens and the egomaniacal Chambers. Ripstein, a lifelong boxing fan, proposes a match and the warden (Arndt) is persuaded to look the other way.

As all the arrangements are finally organized, an eagerly awaited fight night arrives. All hell breaks loose with the haughty professional champ going all out against the unputdownable prison warrior. Chambers knocks down Hutchens twice (and with the 'London Prize' format, each knockdown counts as the end of a round, as the boxer is given only 60 seconds to get up.) In the third round, Hutchens charges back and knocks Chambers down for the first time in his career, sending the crowd of prisoners into a frenzy. Finally, in the fourth round Hutchens officially KO's Chambers to become the undisputed champion.

Ripstein's Mexican assistant reveals in a voice over that Ripstein died three weeks after the fight, but in his will, he left him $2,000,000. Chambers was released on parole, and Hutchens received the money for his sister, who was experiencing hardship on the outside.

It is also revealed that Chambers and his manager denied that the fight with Hutchens ever occurred, and that it was all a rumor. Months later, Chambers wins back the Heavyweight Championship of the World. The whole cell block watches the televised fight, and laugh and cheer Monroe's name after hearing Chambers being crowned the 'undisputed' heavyweight champion of the world.



The film was shot over 39 days with finance raised from a number of American and European companies.[1] Walter Hill said he had always wanted to make a boxing film, being a fan of the sport since he was young. "Some say Hollywood movies that are made about boxing are just metaphors for other things, I think I've made one that's actually about boxing and not a metaphor."[4]

Hill said the film needed to be cast with black actors to have "serious credibility." He took the treatment to Wesley Snipes who was interested in the story even before it had been turned into a script. "I told him it was conceivable that he could play either [lead] role, but what will not change is the fight and who wins in the end," Hill said.[4]

Hill then sent the script to Ving Rhames who called back the next day saying he wanted to play the Ice Man; Snipes was happy to play the other role.[4]


A soundtrack containing hip hop music was released on March 5, 2002 by Universal Records. It peaked at #101 on the Billboard 200 and #41 on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums.


The film received mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 48% based on reviews from 104 critics. The site's consensus is: While not the deepest boxing movie out there, Undisputed is successful at hitting its aspiration of being nothing more than a genre picture.[5]


  1. ^ a b AT THE MOVIES: Tunis by Night Is a Cabaret Kehr, Dave. New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 23 Aug 2002: E8.
  2. ^ a b https://www.boxofficemojo.com/movies/?id=undisputed.htm
  3. ^ Box office figures for Walter Hill films in France at Box Office Story
  4. ^ a b c Clint Morris, "Undisputed: Interview with Walter Hill", Webwombat accessed 25 May 2014
  5. ^ "Undisputed (2002)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. 

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