Review by Ross Anthony

A succinct title that well sums the story. Angry Diana is sick and tired of her father being sick and tired of her less than girlie demeanor. Stereotypical pops pokes, "It wouldn't kill you to wear a skirt once in a while." Consistent in this tradition of macho, he dishes out the dough to send Diana's nerdy brother to boxing lessons at the local gym.

Perhaps you can see this coming, but brother "Tiny" doesn't exactly take to boxing while Diana begs for it. Tiny offers up his lesson money to Diana. Happy about the exchange, but concerned, Diana asks, "What are you gonna do?" Tiny responds, "I'm a geek, I'm sure I can find something constructive to do." Add to this a bit of romance and you have the premise.

A few more developments enrich this toned-down lady "Rocky" tale. In tribute (I suppose) a major player in the film is even named "Adrian" -- though this time Adrian is a boy.

Diana takes to boxing with force, but not grace, paralleling her acting early on. But just as she determinedly sharpens her athletic skills, her acting prowess begins to dominate the ring. By the middle of the film she'll have you in the palm of her glove. Worthy of special mention, Trainer Hector (Jaime Tirelli), friend Elisa Bocanegra, and Adrian (Santiago Douglas) all deliver powerful performances.

The film progresses with the same resolve as Diana though surging prematurely, with two mini-climaxes replacing the end of film climax you might expect. That "big fight" is a bit more confusing (emotionally) than surging. Perhaps a bit more dialogue between the opponents prior to the match, may have cleared up the matter, allowing audiences to cheer instead of narrow their eyes.

Aside from the slightly wobbly conclusion, this is a smashing script with powerfully crisp dialogue that strongly connects with the target. Confident direction includes nice "first person" boxing sequences especially in a bout with another female boxer; "Girlfight" is a strong contender of a film.

  • Girlfight. Copyright © 2000. Rated R.
  • Starring michelle Rodriguez, Jaime Tirelli, Paul Calderon Santiago Douglas, Elisa Bocanegra.
  • Written and Directed by Karyn Kusama.
  • Produced by Sarah Green, Martha Griffin, Maggie Renzi at Screen Gems/Independent Film Channel.


Copyright © 2000. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:10:00 PDT