Artem is boxing’s great white hope. A Russian from humble beginnings, he has little education and few skills beyond his quick fists, but against the odds he has risen to the top, earning himself a bout against the American champion as well as status as a Russian folk hero. Smelling the massive box-office potential of a series of bouts against a legitimate white contender, the American champ’s promoter offers Artem a deal to throw the match to set up a lucrative repeat performance, but Artem’s team is too proud to accept - this will be settled in the ring, with their fists. But pride comes before a fall and, when the fall inevitably comes, Artem is left broken, blinded, and on the run from drug dealers, the police and his own promoter.
In the aftermath of the massive local success of The Night Watch - a film that went head to head with The Lord of the Rings in Russia and gave Jackson’s epic a thorough trouncing – Russia’s film producers scrambled to find more large-scale, local projects in an attempt to duplicate that major success. Shadowboxing is the best and most successful of those films. A big, glossy action picture that could easily sport the name "Bruckheimer" in place of "Dishdishyan," Shadowboxing boasts a likable cast, fantastic production values and some stunning action set pieces. The early boxing sequences are shot to perfection and are helped along greatly on the dramatic level by the presence of veteran American actor John Amos as the crooked boxing promoter. A sprawling piece of work unafraid to criticize its own culture – from the desire for American-style success through to the mob influence on local business - Shadowboxing is first and foremost a popcorn film, a piece designed to entertain above all else and it does that well. Is it any surprise that a sequel is in the works as you read this?
Director: Aleksei Sidorov
Screenplay: Aleksei Sidorov
Cast: Denis Nikiforov, Andrei Panin, Yelena Panova, Dmitri Shevchenko, Alexander Kuznetsov, John Amos
Producers: Ruben Dishdishyan
Distributor: Central Partnership