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| Girlfight 2000
Directed + written by: Karyn
Starring: Michelle Rodriguez, Santiago Douglas, Jaime Tirelli,
Ray Santiago, Paul Calderon
Look for it at the video store under:
drama, new release
Watch it when you’re in the mood
½/ 5 the rating
Diana Guzman is one
pissed-off teenage girl. She’s pissed off at the stuck-up popular
girls at her school, and at her best friend Marisol, who tries so
desperately to be friends with them. She’s pissed off at her Dad, who’s
constantly berating her for one perceived flaw or another. Mostly she’s
just pissed off at a world that insists that girls should be girly
girls, all smiling and docile and pretty, and at her going-nowhere life
in the projects. So when one afternoon, she arrives at the neighborhood
boxing training center to pick up her baby brother Tiny – an artistic,
bookish, sensitive-type who’s only there to please his father – she
thinks she’s finally found a place where she can put all that anger to
constructive use. Trainer Hector reluctantly agrees to take her on –
he’s not entirely sure that girls belong in the ring, at first anyway,
but she’s a paying client. Diana, it turns out, has plenty of talent
but completely lacks discipline. As she works with Hector to get her
body into shape and her mind into the art of boxing, Diana begins to
feel like she’s found a place she really belongs. But things get
complicated when she falls for fellow boxer Adrian, a rising young star
who fights in her same weight class.
be forgiven if you read the synopsis and think, "Great,
after-school special meets Rocky." There’s nothing about
the plot of Girlfight that hasn’t been done before. And sadly, Girlfight
doesn’t entirely escape cliché – most notably, in the somewhat
unbelievable contrivance of a championship bout in which Diana and
Adrian duke it out in the ring. But what Girlfight really gets
right is character and attitude. The movie just feels so real. Partly it’s
the whole look of the film, which is appropriately dark and gritty and
shot almost documentary-style. But mostly it’s the actors, who render
the film’s characters complex and believable and very sympathetic.
Supporting actors Santiago Douglas [Adrian], Jaime Tirelli [Hector] and
Paul Calderon [Diana’s father] are all excellent in their roles, but
it’s Michelle Rodriguez as Diana who just about owns this film. From
the first moment she shows up onscreen, eyes cold and dark and
glowering, you feel her anger. She’s not just some pretty girl dressed
down like a tomboy to make you think tough – this is one girl that
looks not only like she could whup your butt, but moreover, like
she’s not even going to pretend to wait for an excuse to do so.
Girlfight has its flaws, but in the end, it wins you over with
reviewed by Y. Sun
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