Boyka: Undisputed 4 review by Bobby Blakey
Through the 80s and 90s we had a stable of martial arts action stars including Chuck Norris, Jean Claude Van Damme, Steven Seagal and Don “The Dragon” Wilson. Over the last few years martial arts action star Scott Adkins and stepped up to fill that void with some excellent action films, but none more popular than that of his character Boyka from the Undisputed franchise. Now he is back in the anticipated next chapter with director Todor Chapkanov at the helm, but does it offer up the expected quality martial arts action fans have come to expect from this series or will this one finally have to tap out?
Boyka: Undisputed 4 follows Boyka, the most complete fighter in the world, who is looking for his shot to fight for a championship belt. After he accidentally kills an opponent in the ring, Boyka reaches out to the fallen opponent's wife. But when the wife gets kidnapped by a crime kingpin, Boyka must take on a series of dangerous opponents in the ring to keep her from a life of servitude. Before getting into this review you have to know the amazing history of this franchise. What started out as a prison boxing action film starring Wesley Snipes and Ving Rhames from Walter Hill it spun into a straight to home entertainment sequel starring martial arts action star Michael Jai White. This second chapter of the series is where fans were introduced to the now iconic character Boyka. The character became so popular that it pushed him forward to franchise star with the third entry Undisputed III: Redemption. Now for the fourth chapter he is once again the star and even took over the title showing how popular this awesome character truly is to the martial arts action world.
This latest chapter offers up everything you expect from the character and a lot more than we have gotten in previous entries. While the previous movies have kept him in the prison system fighting for survival, this one takes him out into the world, but keeps him locked up within his own emotions. We get a lot more emotionally tormented version of Boyka which allows Adkins to evolve the character even more and flex more than just his muscles in the role. Have no fear while there is a lot of character development to take Boyka to the next level they do not let up on the action. The fights are everything and more you could want from this franchise. It is a hard thing to step up anything Adkins delivers because he is just so dame impressive with everything he does. He works his butt off for this role in both the physical and acting side out of sheer love for the character and respect for the fans. He has created an iconic role that will not soon be forgotten in the world of action and martial arts.
The rest of the cast are ok, but there are a few that are hit and miss. This kind of thing is expected with these kinds of releases, but are also easily ignored due to the charisma of Adkins alone and the sheer joy of seeing him in action. I love this franchise and have been eagerly awaiting this latest chapter since speaking to Adkins when he was promoting Ninja II: Shadow of a Tear back in 2013. This is the rare franchise that keeps getting better and no matter what you may or may not like about the elements of the film the fight sequences never disappoint and leave you begging for more.
The final fight here features Adkins taking on a monster of an opponent played by newcomer Martyn Ford. You always want a menacing looking opponent in films like this and he is that and more. His fighting is brutal and with purpose which when pitting with Boyka’s complete fighting abilities makes for a fun fight to watch. If you haven’t figured it out I loved this movie and while it serves as the perfect end to the franchise, I will always hope that we will get to see more Boyka sooner than later. I highly suggest watching the previous two installments before moving into this one as it makes the journey of the character all the better, but you can still watch this one as it is.
Because Adkins fights the good fight for film outside of the screen as well I want to pass on his ongoing message regarding pirating. If you want to see more adventures from characters like Boyka then you have to watch these films legally as they rely on the actual numbers to get greenlit for more, so be sure to buy or rent your copy, it will be worth every penny you spend.