Director Roy Chow Hin-Yeung
Starring Han Geng, Vivian Wu, Elena Cai
Alternative Names 我们永不言弃

This film has come out of nowhere, and I am really torn. I really loved this film, but I think I am the only one who will talk positive about it. So read this review with that in mind.

A undefeated boxing champion is released from prison after serving a 6 year term for assault. He is united with his young daughter, and through her struggles he learns about the strength he needs to stage a triumphant comeback.

Welcome to this review of the Chinese drama film Knockout. And I really loved this film, but there will be some spoilers. 

What's this Movie About?

Zhou Shi has the whole world at his fingertips. He is undefeated in the boxing ring and the love of his life is about to give birth to their first child.

But after an accident in the ring that leaves his opponent in a coma, an incident of revenge leads to Zhou Shi being jailed for 6 years for assault.

On release, he returns to Shanghai hoping to restart his life. But he is given tragic news. His wife has died in an accident, and he is now the sole guardian of a daughter he has never met.

He struggles to get his life back on track while bonding with his daughter, when his mother-in-law unexpectedly enters the frame, threatening to take custody of his daughter.

But it gets worse for Zhou Shi, and he needs to find the strength and courage within himself to take on the biggest fight of his life.


Is it Worth Watching?

Rocky has a lot to answer for, specifically Creed. These movies have taught us that movies about boxing aren’t about the boxing themselves, but about the family drama behind the boxing.

Creed was brilliant and Knockout is no different. But let’s not get too exciting Dan, this isn’t exactly an original story, but the way it’s told is what enjoyable.

You might watch the start with the stylish boxing match and think this movie will be wall to wall fighting – but its not. This is just one of three boxing matches in the movie.

This is in its soul a pure family drama film. Gut wrenching and highly emotional. There is a lot of spirit in this movie, and that’s thanks to three outstanding performances.

First is Han Geng who plays Zhou Shi. He has back catalogue of highly reviewed and popular movies, and his performance as a father who just wants to bond with this daughter is played perfectly.

Secondly is the ageless Vivian Wu who plays the evil Grandmother. It’s at times a performance that can borderline into melodramatic, but she sells the role perfectly.

But the real scene stealer is Elena Cai, the 10 year old actress playing Zhou Shi’s 6 year old daughter. Her performance is outstanding and when she suffers her tragedy in the middle of the film, its one of the most gut-wrenching realistic performances you’ve seen from a child actress in a long time. It’s been a great year for Asian child actresses, with Korean actress Yool Heo from The Closet also delivering a knockout, pun intended, performance.


What are Some of the Memorable Moments?

It’s got a fairytale ending, but let’s be honest it was only going to have one of two endings. It could have gone down the Rocky Part 1 path, but then the whole theme of the movie would have lost and for nothing, so it went down the Rocky 2 path instead.

Scenes in the hospital will also stick with you too, especially if you are a parent who has ever had a sick child. So keep that in mind if you want to watch this.


What's Not So Hot?

Spoiler talk here – so take note of the watermark and time frame and skip ahead.

If you’ve ever had a child who has been sick in hospital, specifically leukemia, then the scenes of Zhou Shi’s daughter going through her treatment will most like emotionally affect you.

The performance of Elena Cai feels so realistic during these scenes, so be forewarned.


Overall Impressions

I loved this. I don’t know what else to say. I’ve read other reviews and user comments on this film who have derided its story as formulaic, which I can agree with, but it doesn’t mean the movie itself is bad.

It is not an action movie, so don’t watch it if you are after an action film.

My recommendation is: Watch it.

If you’ve seen it, what did you think?