How this film remains in relative obscurity is completely beyond me. This is one of the most entertaining flicks you've never seen.
James Woods stars as con-man Gabriel Cain just released from prison and sets out to scam a boxing-obsessd redneck town called Diggstown. He does so by setting up a bet with the local Kingpin that his old boxing partner can beat any 10 of Diggstown's fighters in 1 day. And from there, the stakes go completely out of control, building up to a brilliantly scripted ending.
Louis Gossett Jr is astonishingly good as the ageing boxer and Oliver Platt provides strong support as their less-than-subtle accomplice. Heather Graham is always worth a look (if you know what I mean) and Bruce Dern plays the part of an evil redneck to absolute perfection.
Realists will moan that no boxer can take 10 men in one day, but this isn't about realism - this is about an absorbing plot with twists & turns galore. While not wanting to give too much away, some of these are hilarious - check out the 4th fight - and others are downright sinister - the aftermath of the 5th fight - not to mention Cain's little 'reminder' at the mid-tournament break and a tragic subplot of a brain-damaged former boxer whose fate was decided by sickening corruption.
Yet the script balances the humour & the sinister brilliantly, with sharp dialogue delivered with aplomb from Dern & Woods and there's no let-ups from any of the supporting cast. And I promise you, the ending of this movie is worth the admission price alone!
All in all, an excellent film.