The Ropes takes you behind the scenes of the boxing world,
where the promoters strive for power, and the boxers fight
for their livelihood. Jackie Kallen (Meg Ryan), who as a girl
lived for the sport
as her father coached her uncle boxing in Detroit, loved every
minute of it and understood everything there was to know about
boxing. Unfortunately, she was always told she was a girl
and couldnt be let into the boys only club.
movie begins, she is a nobody taking orders from loser promoters
and managers in the boxing world. Sure, she believes she understands
more than they possibly could, what underling doesn't? But
Jackie has the fire burning in her to want more than what
she's got. When Larocca (Tony Shalhoub) pushes the wrong button
and basically dares Jackie with a bet, it ignites just the
opportunity she needs to go out and become the promoter/manager
she always wanted to be.
Jackie a boxer for a dollar makes news headlines when sports
announcer Gaven Ross (Timothy Daly) breaks the dare on local
television, but the boxer turns out to be a dud, and while
trying to meet her one dollar star she runs into a little
trouble and is then witness to a street fight involving neighborhood
strong arm Luther Shaw (Omar Epps). The story unfolds as she
tried to convince Luther to train with Felix Reynolds (Charles
Dutton) and take on Laroccas
champion for the title.
has a mixture of drama, and a little comedy. It's not funny
enough to keep a constant laugh going, and unfortunately not
interesting enough to care about the characters involved.
Ryan is a Hollywood sweetheart, and it is really difficult
to see her play a part like this that does not fit what we
all know her to be, and that is the horror of typecasting.
too hard to be a nobody that wants to be a somebody, and then
all too easily falls into the role of what she hated in the
establishment in the first place. You see it happening, you
can understand it, and it plays out well enough that Ryans
only strength in this movie is that it drives the knife into
the heart to see the sweetheart turn in the total pompous
ass that she does. Her accent doesnt do much for the
convincing either, but she definitely had the wardrobe down.
on the other hand fits into his character like a glove, the
jerk character of Larocca is superbly well done, and plays
into the kind of attitude Jackie must deal with to break into
the industry that doesnt want a girl on board. His comebacks
are funny, and the sheer power of his performance actually
works well to belittle all the other characters in this film.
unfortunately ends up with the likable and lovable character
he probably shouldnt be advertising. Though
the movie revolves around Jackie, the person who
gets her to where she is is actually the guy fighting the
fights. Luther has a good presence on screen, and is seldom
out of character. The mood swings his character possesses
sometimes leads to random scenes that never really blossom
at any point into anything. Charles
Dutton and Timothy Daly end up being the voices of reason,
and the reason for Jackie ending up doing the right thing
after screwing up pretty badly in her relationships with the
people who got her where she was.
segment of the film did work hard to establish why these relationships
formed, but somewhere in the script it called for the relationships
to die and then rekindle fairly quickly, and for people in
the boxing industry, that is a harsh reality. How we got this
woman to fight so hard for her share in the glory of boxing
is explained and well done, and to the writers' credit the
reasons why Jackies relationships break down is harsh
and understandable. Its just hard to accept from a cute
actress like Meg Ryan, as this film should not be taken as
a chick flick, nor a movie for guys who like movies.
nice was the depth that all characters had, but the randomness
of some story points leaves one focusing on how power can
corrupt the best of people, and the harsh reality of the possibility
of getting shafted is never impossible no matter how honorable
one tries to be. But the final act gives minimal satisfaction
in ending the story regarding the tragedy of it all, but not
to a degree that makes this flick pack a decent punch. The
journey was fun, and insightful, but with a padded glove that
allows this fight to drag out just enough rounds only to end
up suddenly losing interest.