Yuri Boyka has become Scott Adkins’ most well known role, and now the role he’s played the most in three films. The villain of Undisputed II: Last Man Standing, Boyka became he hero of Undisputed III: Redemption in Undisputed franchise tradition. Boyka: Undisputed takes Boyka out of prison fights and into a new thriller centered around MMA.
Boyka is still fighting in underground fights on the outside. He kills a rather reckless fighter in the ring, but it’s still a true accident. He didn’t deliver the death blow or anything. It was just a concussion that took a turn for the worst. Boyka visits his opponent’s widow, Alma (Teodara Duhovnikova), and finds her working for the gangster Zourab (Alon Aboutboul). Boyka makes a deal to fight for Zourab to free Alma of her debt to him.
Boyka: Undisputed asks a rather provocative question. Can you fight for redemption when Alma doesn’t want your help? Boyka is white knighting, but even if she wants no part of it, isn’t he doing the right thing? Either way, if you feel that guilty, how can you walk away even if she asks you to your face? And why don’t Hollywood movies ask questions this interesting?
Alma has a real reason to stay. She and her husband built a youth center. She’s not going to abandon the kids to gangsters. It’s simple but it’s all the drama in the world. It forces Boyka to confront his nature, which he’s rationalized as violent in a profession where all his opponents know what they’re getting into. Adkins relishes challenging a character who’s not going to overtly show his emotions.
Of course the main event in Boyka: Undisputed is the fights. I think Adkins invented some new moves for this one. He’s doing a double kick on the way down from a jump, and some new more elaborate flip. One ring fight has him take on two opponents at once. We’ve seen two on one in movies all the time, but in a ring fight that’s not WWE, that’s new. It’s damn innovative frankly.
Other fighters have some impressive moves too, doing somersault kicks. Zourab’s top fighter Igor (Brahim Achabbakhe) is built up as a good nemesis throughout. He’s an A-hole who you want to see Boyka slap straight as soon as you meet him, but the film very smartly keeps him around for us to hate him until the inevitable. Igor twirls like a drill in the air in their fight.
Then there’s Koshmar the Nightmare (Martyn Ford). Introduced in a prison issue Immortan Joe mask, Koshmar is a wall who towers over Boyka so you can really appreciate the strategy Boyka has to use, because mere strength won’t be enough. The climax is essentially two ring fights in a row and then fighting more thugs outside the ring. Boyka: Undisputed totally delivers on the action.
Even though Boyka is undisputed, there will always be people trying to dispute him. Sort of like how people keep backing down even though three movies have told them to Never Back Down. So I would continue to watch Boyka prove himself Undisputed.