Friday February 4, 2000
"Knockout" can't be said to live up to its title--it's too predictable and formulaic for that. But this story of an East L.A. Latina determined to follow in her father's footsteps to the boxing ring does pack a punch.
The point of this picture is that it's high time for more Latinas to believe that they can pursue their dreams without sacrificing the possibility of love and marriage. When Carmen Alvarado (Maria Conchita Alonso) discovers she's dying of a malignant brain tumor, she tells her young daughter Belle (Sophia-Adella Hernandez) that she shouldn't have to give up what she wants to do with her life for the one she loves--in her mother's words, "to let her light shine." Carmen had given up her dancing career to marry her husband, Chuck (Tony Plana), who had been a Golden Gloves champ when he gave up boxing for steadier work as a policeman.
Although Carmen had been horrified to learn from her husband that their daughter had shown some boxing ability at the gym, where he coaches troubled youths in the ring, she also told him to let Belle pursue her dreams. Initially, Chuck is equally horrified to learn after his wife's death that his daughter wants to take boxing seriously, but he ultimately yields to his promise to his late wife. With backing from him and shy, handsome Mario (Eduardo Yan~ez), himself a rising boxer, Belle gives boxing a serious shot. She will of course be thrown a jolting curve in the course of her progress, but you can't seriously imagine that anything really could stop her on her way to becoming a champ.
Mark Stevens & Lorenzo Doumani's script is on the elementary side, but their people are engaging, and Doumani draws warm, vigorous portrayals from his sterling cast, which includes William McNamara as Belle's slick young manager and Paul Winfield as a shrewd, seen-it-all boxing promoter. "Knockout" looks good and sounds good, boasting a vibrant, eclectic soundtrack.
Knockout, 2000. PG-13, for prizefight violence, language and brief drug content. A CEO release of a DMG/Canyon presentation. Director Lorenzo Doumani. Producer Simone Sheffield. Screenplay Mark Stevens & Doumani; based on a story by Doumani. Cinematographer Hisham Abed. Editor Dayle Mustain. Music Sidney James. Latin music producer Rudy Perez. Costumes Sylvia Vasquez. Production designer John Hernandez. Art director Nick George. Set decorator Robert Sparks. Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes. Sophia-Adella Hernandez as Belle Alvarado. Eduardo Yan~ez as Mario Rodriguez. Tony Plana as Chuck Alvarado. William McNamara as Michael DeMarco. Maria Conchita Alonso as Carmen Alvarado. Paul Winfield as Ron Regent.