Cast: Kaji 'Unchain' Toshiro, Nagaishi, Koji Chihara (narration)
Documentaries on boxing, and even fictional accounts of the sport told on film are something I've always been intrigued by, so it comes with no surprise, when Third Window Films announced they would be including Unchain in their box set for Toyoda, I became quickly excited. Going into Unchain, other than knowing the sport on which its real life characters were shaped by, I knew nothing upon viewing, which is nice.
There isn't a ton to the story to be honest, though it focuses on multiple people. Unchain Kaji, is a young, blistering spirit with the heart of a boxer. He isn't very great, albeit he is greatly determined. After being beaten on numerous occasion (every time, aside from a couple of draws I believe), Unchain never won a match, and to worsen things, his eyes suffered from nerve paralysis cause by the sport he loved. 3 other boxers, all linked to Kaji, have their stories told, and how they connect with him and they all went through together, how boxing (and variations: kick boxing, shoot boxing) made them who they were.
There admittedly isn't a ton to say on this one, but those interested in boxing will find something to hold on to. It is very engaging and you are getting to see these bizarre people being captured in a close and very real manner. Toyoda captured the essence of these boxers and their lives, and he nails it quite well. There isn't really much of an arc for any of them, save for Kaji, and he is sort of the same guy at the end that he was at the beginning, which may be the point, but I digress.
|Boxing at its most personal.|
In the end, I quite enjoyed Unchain and it's real, no b.s approach. It's simply about some boxers and their lives, in which intertwine together quite well. It's peppered with just the right amount of style, and spirit. I wasn't standing up and cheering, but I vicariously watched like a hawk from the ringside. Odd characters and plenty of boxing, Unchain may lack the oomph of other works in the genre, but it most certainly holds its own in the ring.
Written by Josh Parmer