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Review Undisputed II: Last Man Standing (2006): A little overrated but decent sequel!

genre: martial arts, action, crime, drama

Undisputed II as the title suggests is the sequel to Undisputed where George "Iceman" Chambers now is played by Michael Jai White. George must be the unluckiest man in the whole wide world who again ends up in jail. This time he is set up by the Russian mob so that he can fight Boyka (Scott Adkins) who is the undefeated champion in this Russian prison. Not much background is given on  him but modesty is not of his characteristics. Apparently he really likes it there as he is more concerned with fighting and training than getting out. 

You would think it would be a no brainer for George to do what the Russian mobsters want him to do. Unfortunately George is not particularly bright in this part which somehow gets mistaken for stubbornness. But believe me it's stupidity. Any other person who ends up in a jail like this would do whatever to get out. But not George Chambers. He is rude and defiant all the way. This would make sense if he thought that he would never get out. But actually he acts this way since he is under the impression he will be getting out soon. He realizes he has been set up but still is very trusting of the justice system. How can you be if you are thrown in jail without any type of trial or due process. So he needs to be convinced. It is at this point the film pays attention to some side characters and their predicaments. One of these characters is played by Ben Cross. It's a travesty to see such a good actor reduced to playing a role like this. Especially since he is not even allowed to do much. While it's admirable that they tried to infuse this film with some melodrama often these scenes feel tonally wrong and actually get in the way of the action. The story drags far too much and makes the 90 minute duration feel a lot longer. In a martial arts flick it's never good if story detracts from the action.

The action itself is top notch. Very well choreographed and fun to watch. But it has to be said that compared to the original Undisputed II has less impact.  George Chambers is in a very dire situation and yet it rarely feels like there is a lot at stake. That is a real shame since with better direction and story Undisputed 2 could have been more exciting. Boyka is a big deal and Adkins certainly does his best to make him memorable but sadly he is let down by the plot and direction. He is interesting enough especially action wise but his character is not fleshed out enough that is deserving of his popularity. Which for me was a little disappointing. I certainly don't understand the praise of this movie  is getting. The majority of the fans are claiming that this sequel is better than the original. It's not. Not by a long shot. The whole tone and vibe of this film is completely different. This George Chambers is a whole new person compared to how he was portrayed by Ving Rhames in the original. And the fights in original were more intense. Just shows you that good and exciting action requires more than better or flashy choreography, 

Overall though Undisputed 2 offers enough B movie goodness for you to have a nice time. But it's not as good as fans are claiming. So keep that in mind.

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