USA (2000): Action/Drama
Produced by: An Edgewood Films and Think Tank
Distributor: PorchLight (outside USA) and Magna Pacific
Filmed on location: Port Chester and Troy in New York
Shown at: AFI Film Festival (L.A., October 20, 2000)
Released on: July 11, 2001
Elman Rating: 2 stars out of 4, Robert Koehler Review
93 min, Rated MA15+, Color
Director-producer: Eugene Jarecki
Erika Eleniak (as Patty), James Colby (as Tommy), Aunjanue Ellis (as June), Kyle Thrash (as Billy), John Doman (as Fred), Harry O'Riley, Suzi Tasca, Diego López (II), Michael J. Burg (as Marty Burke), Bill Corsair (as Boxing Referee)
After years of domestic abuse, Patty (Erika Eleniak) take smatters into her own hands and finds an outlet for her anger... boxing. Undeterred by the controversy surrounding women's boxing, she is spotted by a fight promoter and with the help of a trainer, Tommy (James Colby), she learns how to box.
Hounded and knocked around by her dumb lug b.f., Patty (Erika Eleniak) is spotted and befriended by club fight promoter Fred (John Doman) and one of his round-club gals, June (Aunjanue Ellis). Our heroine finds that she can confide in June and get into shape care of Tommy (James Colby), who runs a gym with sleazy Fred. Patty's sudden rise in women's boxing is a bit too much so, though staging of pro women in the ring is much more ferocious here than anything in "Girlfight."
No less than the fourth pic in 2000 about women's boxing, Eugene Jarecki's "The Opponent" is handicapped by being in the considerable shadow of "Girlfight," and is further obscured by its lack of a fresh approach to a once-novel subject now being done to death. While Jarecki avoids an easy triumph-over-adversity ending as he tells the story of an abused woman who finds that there's more to boxing than self-defense, pat characters and episodes tend to flatten what could have been a multidimensional drama that, after fest bouts, should find a home base in cable.