This tale is not a true biography, since Lizzie didn’t publish a memoir. Some flavour in what society was like in London is toyed with, but ultimately these details take a back seat to focusing on this person’s life from a young girl to an adult who dealt certain demons of her past a permanent ‘death’ blow.
Going beyond the Women’s suffrage movement, Elizabeth Wilkinson dared to defy gender roles by being one of the world’s first lady boxers in 18th Century London. This lass couldn’t make enough shilling to support herself and Tess, her sister, in a world was primarily run by men. These chauvinists believed their place was at the home and were “servants.” Liz disliked her place in society and had no trouble butting heads in her attempt to become recognized as a fighting champion.
I can’t help but be reminded of Chick Fight, which stars Malin Akerman, Bella Thorne and Dulcé Sloan in a different type of story. Writer/director Paul Leyden may well have been influenced by this historical figure. The ideas are the same–we have a heroine who must prove her worth not only to herself but also amongst her peers, fellow fighters who are male and female. When Wilkinson formally issued a challenge to Hannah Hyfield, a foe she’s not ready to face (much like in the movie with Akerman’s character to Thorne) she needs a seasoned pro to teach her the finer points of gladiatorial combat.
Comparisons to the Rocky franchise can easily be made. The hero’s journey is three of Stallone’s films compressed into one; both protagonists developed punch drunk syndrome–hence the title.
By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
North American Premiere
Playing at Fantasia Digital Film Festival 2020 On Demand till Sept 2 (5pm EST). Buy your virtual ticket here.
My Punch-Drunk Boxer ( 판소리 복서) could do with a shorter run time if it wants a knockout at the box office. This film is trying to balance being a rom com and sports drama at the same time. As any trainer will tell you, focus!
This Korean film moves to a beat of its own and it can succeed, had it been broken up to two films than one. It almost copies what the protagonist is up to and moves in time to a style that Byeong-Goo (Uhm Tae Goo), a boxer turned ne’er-do-well, developed when he was at his prime. Sadly, an incident ended his career and now he’s doing menial tasks for gym manager, Mr. Park (Kim Hee-won).