"Undisputed" was released in 2002, and the picture (which was directed by Walter Hill and starred Wesley Snipes and Ving Rhames) did a light $12m at the box office. Despite the fact that I'm sure few remember the original, someone felt as if a sequel would be a terrifc idea. Hence, "Undisputed II: Last Man Standing" (speaking of direct-to-video sequels, I'd rather have seen a sequel to the Bruce Willis western "Last Man Standing", but that's besides the point.)
Directed by Isaac Florentine ("Mighty Morphin Power Rangers", "US Seals II") he second picture stars Michael Jai White as George "Iceman" Chambers (who was apparently played by Ving Rhames in the first picture, which I didn't see) a top kickboxer who gets sent to jail when he gets framed for drug possession. This also happens to be one of Russias most corrupt, nasty and brutal jails.
It soon becomes apparent that the jail was in on the frame-up, simply because they wanted to pit their best boxer, Uri Boyka (Scott Adkins) against the best the rest of the world has to offer. If Iceman is able to beat Uri, he'll be set free. If not, he's in serious trouble. That's about all there is to the plot of this picture, which essentially is made up of a lot of scenes of White's character trying to figure a way out while beating the daylights out of anyone who dares challenge him in the prison or in the yard.
The fight scenes (which are really the star of the show here, if we're being honest) are enjoyable, although the martial arts appears a bit too choreographed and not seamless. The performances are fine enough for the material, which pretty much consists of characters cursing at each other. I'm not trying to put down "Undisputed", as it is what it is: a martial arts B-movie that offers what it promises: a lot of action and really, not much at all else. In terms of mindless action movies, this one is simply average and takes itself a little too seriously to be as entertaining in a B-movie way as it could have been.
VIDEO: "Undisputed II" is presented by New Line in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. New Line certainly gives the majority of their releases top-notch transfers and this is no exception. Sharpness and detaiil were quite fine throughout the show, with small object details often visible, even in the darker sequences. While some minor artifacting was occasionally spotted, no edge enhancement or other issues were seen. Understandably, colors were subdued throughout the movie, although appeared accurately presented, with no concerns. Black level appeared strong, while flesh tones looked accurate.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack didn't provide a great deal for the surrounds to do, as the audio was largely spread out across the front speakers. Audio quality was fine, with boomy, bassy effects and clear dialogue.
EXTRAS: Director Isaac Florentine is joined by actors Michael Jai White and Scott Atkins for an audio commentary for the film. The track does have some gaps of silence throughout the movie, but the three do provide a lot of discussion regarding various aspects of the production, including fight choreography, style, locations and working with the other actors. Although the comments aren't constant, the information the three do offer will be of interest for fans. A 20-minute "making of" is much better than these sort of things usually are, with great location and behind-the-scenes footage, as well as some informative interviews with the actors and filmmakers. Finally, we also get sneak peek trailers for other movies.
Final Thoughts: "Undisputed II" offers moderately good martial arts sequences and not much else. As mindless action goes, the picture is watchable, but takes itself too seriously to be as entertaining a B-movie as it could be. The DVD offers very good video quality, fine audio and a couple of good supplements. A light rental recommendation for fans of the original or of the genre. Others should skip it.