Girlfight (2000)

GIRLFIGHT is an absolutely splendid, indy, inner-city, amateur boxing 
drama about a high-school senior slash tomboy slash one-more-brawl-
and-you're-out juvenile delinquent (Michelle Rodriquez) who wants to 
learn the ropes of learning the ropes at her local, street-corner gym.  
Struggles ensue, as she fights to get fit, tough, and be fairly treat-
ed.  Romance happens, too, as does the surprise blossoming of the lead 
character's femininity.  (She starts the film as a militant-looking 
frump.)  While the direction, by first-time filmmaker Karyn Kusama, 
isn't always the smoothest, the no-name cast is top-notch.  Best-est 
is Rodriquez, whose surly, scowling, no-shit-taker could very well 
grab Oscar's attention.  She's wonderful, as are many of the un- or 
lesser-known players.  (Heck, the most recognizable face is a cameo by 
director and the film's executive producer John Sayles!)  The script, 
also by Kusama, is a sturdy collage of standard sports and underdog 
cliches that's well-set within the gritty world of the Brooklyn "pro-
jects."  (Love that after-dark cacophony of car horns, crying babies, 
and booming stereos!)  Yeah, the overall momentum could be a bit more 
consistent, sure, but all the right buttons get pushed.  And at all 
the right times.  Love, too, that first-person "boxing cam."  Same for 
both a hellacious father-daughter confrontation and one unforgettable 
admission of amore from inside the ring:  "I love you.  WHAP!"  (Rated 
"R"/110 min.)

Grade: B+

Copyright 2000 by Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

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Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros -Movie Hell™ is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros