Debuting director/co-scenarist Todd Bellanca’s “Knockdown” uses an achronological flashback structure to chart the long freefall of a successful U.S. pro boxer confronting various forms of squalor in Bangkok. That sounds interesting enough, and lead Casey Evans, an ex-boxer, gained nearly 100 pounds during production to portray his protag from fit to failure. Yet the pic never comes to life as drama, actioner or anything else, and Evans, though game, lacks the charisma to lift uninspired material. Limited U.S. theatrical launch has stirred scant interest, but home-format sales should be OK.A mysterious stranger (Nick Faltas) recognizes a plump barkeep as Jack “the Ripper” Stemmons (Evans), onetime “St. Louis’ Great White Hope,” who lost it all by killing a mob-connected bookie (Tom Arnold) after discovering a fight was fixed. Fleeing to Thailand, he attracts more sleazy, exploitative types, falls for a prostitute and sinks into substance abuse. Adequately assembled but lacking atmosphere and urgency, this dullish effort is being variously distributed abroad as “Bangkok Bound” and “The Bad Penny” (the actual onscreen title on the DVD reviewed). Nominal name draws Arnold and Bai Ling are but briefly seen.
An Arc Entertainment release of a Tamcum Entertainment presentation in association with Sanguine + Smart, Celco. Produced by Sarote Tabcum Jr., Todd Bellanca. Executive producers, John Constantine, Tony Escobar. Co-producers, Alex Guerra, Sasha Levinson, Ron Anantavara. Directed by Todd Bellanca. Screenplay, Bellanca, Sasha Levinson.
Camera (color), Vincent Passeri, Patrick Cady, Josh Medak; editor, Giancomo Ambrosini; music, Scott Miller, Michael L. Jackson, Human; music supervisor, Music Dealers; production designer, Arnd Stockhausen; supervising art director, Ralph Herscu, costume designer, Nicki Stewart. Reviewed on DVD, San Francisco, June 15, 2012. Running time: 93 MIN.
Casey Evans, Nick Faltas, Tom Arnold, Josh Randall, Bai Ling, Lara Phillips, Travis Aaron Wade, Ilia Volok, Sumonta Muangthai, Philip D. Pinto, Jaqueline Ugarte, Jim Van Vleck, Terry Nemeroff.