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AGAINST THE ROPES
USA: Paramount Pictures
UK: UIP (UK)
Cast: Meg Ryan, Omar Epps, Tony Shalhoub, Timothy Daly, Charles S Dutton, Joe Cortese, Kerry Washington, Skye McCole Bartusiak, Sean Bell, Michael Buffer, Neil Crone, Patrick Ezerzer, Tamara Hickey, Jason Jones, John Kalbhenn, Tory Kittles, Doug Lennox, Gene Mack, Holt McCallany, Merwin Mondesir, Paul Mota, Jef Etters
Director: Charles Dutton
Countries: USA / Germany
USA & UK: 100 mins
USA Rated: PG-13 for crude language, violence, brief sensuality and some drug material
UK Certificate: 12A contains moderate language, drugs and sex references, and boxing action
USA Release Date: 20 February 2003
UK Release Date: 14 May 2004
The daughter of a trainer, Jackie Kallen (Meg Ryan) grew up skipping rope in a downtown Detroit gym alongside her uncle, a fighter himself. She watched in wonder as young men struggled to become champions, and hoped that one day she would be involved in the sport that was in her blood.
Now, at 36, Jackie's ready to carry on the family tradition. She's tired of playing executive secretary to Irving Abel (Joe Cortese), director of the Cleveland Coliseum, when both of them know she's the one really running the place. Trying to make her mark in the boxing world, Jackie spends a lot of her free time working the room at D'Agostino's, a pugs and thugs hangout known for its stiff drinks and bloody steaks.
After drinks with Cleveland's local hotshot TV sportscaster, Gavin Reese (Tim Daly), Jackie ends up in a verbal sparring match with the Midwest's boxing kingpin, Sam LaRocca (Tony Shalhoub). Just to belittle her, he sells her the contract of one of his fighters for a dollar...and that's just about what Devon Greene (Tory Kittles) is worth. It turns out Devon's more interested in smoking crack than boxing.
But Jackie's dollar ends up being well spent anyway. When she goes to Devon's apartment to introduce herself as his new manager, she arrives just as his drug dealer's enforcer, Luther Shaw (Omar Epps), is beating him up. Instantly, she recognizes that it is Luther, not Devon, who has the potential to be her champion. Bailing Luther out of jail, Jackie convinces him to pursue boxing and to let her be his manager. Then, with the help of Felix Reynolds (Charles S Dutton), a veteran trainer whom she coaxes out of retirement, Jackie turns Luther from a jail-bound punk into a streamlined prizefighter...and at the same time, turns herself into one of the most successful female managers in boxing history.