Who knew that Canadian cinema was in such desperate need of a movie about topless female boxing? An unusual combination of sensitive family drama and sleazy cat-fighting video, Guy Bennett’s debut feature Punch is tough, smart and funny. Michael Riley plays Sam, a Vancouver doctor who’s a little too close to his 18-year-old daughter Ariel (Sonja Bennett). When the quick-tempered girl assaults Sam’s new girlfriend Mary (Marcia Laskowski), the woman’s sister (Meredith McGeachie), who works as a topless boxer, comes looking for payback. As crazy as the premise sounds, it proves to be a remarkably effective means of illustrating that women, like men, have the potential to be violent. Bennett has tapped into the anger that fuels his female characters in an intriguing and believable way. The actors, especially the remarkable McGeachie, make the most of Bennett’s colourful script and lean direction.
Canada, 2002. Colour. Dolby stereo. 90 mins.

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