I really like films that are not pretentious. Films that are self-aware and know their limitations and at the same time are aware of their strengths and make it a point to maximize its usage so as to leave a mark. Boyka: Undisputed is one such film. It channels its complete energy through the action sequences featuring its pull, Scott Adkins who doesn’t waste a single shot to propagate his immense physicality. As he sways through from one fight to the other, the director just manufactures the reasons for him to fight. The film keeps the drama to a bare minimum and thankfully whatever little of it is there is convincing enough for us to connect with the actors. Hence the believability of the plot is taken care of and the baton is passed over to the action sequences.
Boyka (Scott Adkins) has successfully escaped from the prison and is now inching closer to legitimate fighting career. In order to make it to a big league competition, he must beat a tough fighter in an exhibition match. He does so successfully but his competitor tragically dies in the fight. This makes him question everything that he believes in and wants to make amends for the fighter’s family. He travels to Russia where the fighter was from and learns that his death has made a slave out of her wife Alma (Teodora Duhovnikova) who is now at the mercy savage gang lord who his husband owed money. The gang lord owns a fight club. Boyka makes a wager to fight three fights for him against a competition of his choice to free Alma from his grasp. What follows is fight after fight of breathtaking physicality and raw power.
There is very little more to this film apart from the fights and that’s a good thing in my opinion. The action sequences are it’s heart and soul and the film takes the most advantage of that. There is an energy to the action sequences which comes from the manner in which they are filmed and choreographed. It’s needless to mention that Adkins is sensational in these sequences and you buy him as the fighter that the film tries to sell him as. He has that look on his face which tells you that he may not be a good man. He acts savage at certain points and the manner in which he acts in these sequences sells the feeling. That was what was needed from him as all that is left is his moves.
This is also a film which is peppered with numerous long and short action sequences. The screenplay is fast and never really gives you any chance to relax. As is customary with films like this the final boss stage fight is most brutal and jaw dropping. Adkins fights a man who is nearly 7 feet tall and is maced into his fights. He fights him when he has already had a fight for the evening and when his back is nearly in shatters. What is more is that he has only 15 minutes to beat the guy. I also enjoyed Adkins fight with Alma’s husband. Even though that was a fight where he was matched with a guy who he could easily beat, there was something about the fight that captured my imagination.
Teodora Duhovnikova turned in a surprisingly intimate and subtle performance that really took the story a few notches up. Her performing well meant that we were affected by her plight which in turns meant that we were invested in her story and also in the drama that was building up to the fights. Her performance also positively affected Adkins act who really has a good chemistry going with her. The rest of the cast are not worth a mention. It’s not because they don’t act well, it’s just because they have nothing much to do.
Boyka: Undisputed 4 is a superb action film. You know exactly what to expect from this film and it gives you exactly that. It gives you all the action that you can ask for and it gives you quality action. Not a single action sequence is an assembly line. On the contrary, every sequence is carefully crafted and infused with a healthy dosage of energy and raw physicality to make you stand up and take notice. I was enthralled by the action of this film. I am a lover of the genre and I believe it will be the same for most lovers of the genre. It is one of the purest action films of recent times and I am really glad that I watched this film. Don’t expect any drama or deep characterization from this film and you will love it.
Rating : 4/5 (4 out of 5 Stars)