Director: Karen Kusama
Year Released: 2000
Got mixed messages right from the get-go, in which Kusama immediately references the first shot of Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange, with a coked-up Alex staring out the top of his eye sockets at the camera, ready to engage in a bout of ultraviolence (the "homage" may have been unconscious) - though I don't quite think there is any real similarity between Alex's desire to corrupt and disturb and the lead character in this picture's masculine eruptions. The story is predictable and the end hardly believable (I'm not trying to be chauvinist - I've just had a ton of experience with sparing and the mechanics of fighting), and the dialogue, quite often, sounds pedestrian (especially the "fighting words" exchanged between Rodriguez and her much "prettier" classmates). It tries, goddamn it, to make Rodriguez turn into an unstoppable bad ass (rationale for being so hostile: her mother killed herself), even resorting to a highly laughable scene in which she actually beats up her father ("You've got to be kidding me," I chuckled). However, I did find interest in the polarity between her and her subtly homosexual brother, who would rather draw than take out his aggressions in the ring - it's an effective example of role reversal.