Boyka: Undisputed (2016) Review



Boyka is back and better than ever; let’s hope this is the last entry in the series as it is a fitting finale to one of action cinema’s most memorable icons of recent years.

Plot: Fresh and free from prison, Yuri Boyka is now making his way to the big leagues. However, after accidentally killing opponent Viktor Gregov in the ring, Boyka questions everything he has fought for and returns to Russia to seek forgiveness from Viktor’s wife Alma, who is under the control of manipulative loan shark Zourab, from whom she has borrowed money to set up a community center. Now Boyka must fight a series of impossible fights organized by Zourab to free Alma from a life of servitude.

Review: Boyka: Undisputed continues to do what the Undisputed series has always done superbly, which is producing brutal, hard-hitting, dynamic yet graceful fight scenes. Even when I enjoyed the fight scenes in Undisputed 2 and 3 so much that I ended up watching some of them over and over again for years, Boyka: Undisputed still manages to present fight scenes that instantly became my personal favorites. Some of these fight scenes included Boyka vs Viktor. In this fight, we see the two fighters almost equally matched in skill and charisma, with both of them gaining the upper hand at different moments, but what really stood out to me was how this fight was done in a series of long takes with the camera following the fighters very closely. These elements collectively gave the fight a much more aggressive feel to it than if the camera were to employ a spectator’s point of view as with Boyka: Undisputed’s predecessors. Another of my favorite fight scenes was the one where Boyka fights the twins. By flipping, kicking and spin-kicking their way across the ring, the twins together give Boyka a bigger run for his money than Boyka himself would have ever bargained for. It might be an unfair advantage for Boyka, but it goes to show that even when Zourab is not as physically strong or capable as Boyka, he is still the one who manipulates the game due to his status as a crime lord. Last but not least, we have the final showdown where Boyka faces off against the hulking, roid-raged Koshmar. It is this classic David vs. Goliath fight that, in my opinion, is second only to the fight in The Protector, where Tony Jaa takes on a gang of giant brutes.

Story-wise, Boyka: Undisputed doesn’t slack either. In this film, an ex-villain’s quest for salvation and redemption feels genuine such that you can’t help but cheer him on. At first Boyka wanted to make good use of his “second chance” by making it into the big leagues, but after accidentally killing Viktor, Boyka no longer prioritizes such ambition. Instead he shows signs of humility as he gradually starts to see others, most notably Viktor, as dignified human beings than just mere obstacles. Alma’s struggles as a widow also feels real, and Zourab is cunning yet cruel and manipulative like a puppet master.

If you are a big fan of the Undisputed series, please be sure to own Boyka: Undisputed, because Scott Adkins has surely earned himself the Fight of the Night award with this one!