Bronx native Jaden Miller, 24, could’ve had a better life, but fighting within a prestigious school cost his scholarship and an expulsion. Now a high school dropout working from job to job, evicted with nowhere to call home, he decides to train as a boxer under discredited trainer Duane Taylor. The local PBS station picks up on the story and wants to document Jaden’s progress as he becomes slated to take on the champion, James Burchard, an undefeated boxer of less-than-appealing character. Jaden’s mom, Jada (ailing from a heart condition), sees no good in this, as it was fighting that so far ruined his life, but Duane sees within Jaden an it factor that could make him great.

Also Known As: The Challenger, Претендент

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  • roxana-albu
    roxana albu

    This movie despite some of the bad reviews and press it’s gotten is an exceptionally well made film with a good cast that played their roles well. They had a low budget and a limited amount of time to get this movie done but the movie doesn’t show that side to it at all, it had gripping moments that made you edge closer out of your seat. Everyone loves an underdog and this movie was all about the underdog, yet it showed with hard work anything is possible, it’s an inspirational movie, the story was great, something you see less of day in and day out, no fancy film effects, just brilliant camera-work, excellent choreography that made everything so realistic, so believable. Everything in this movie had a purpose, everything was for a reason, nothing makes you sit there and think “Why was that there?” everything in your mind has a purpose for the movie, it builds the characters, there were no wasted scenes here. I think with a bigger budget and more time, this movie could have added a lot more, and really shown the world an even more in depth character that would make you wish the movie went on longer than it did.For me, I would highly recommend this movie to anyone, a lot of bad movies have been released lately, and it was nice to see something true to the art come from The Challenger. This movie for me was perfect for what it was, I’m not a critic and I don’t rate every movie I ever watch and critique it, but I have taste, and I have a mind that can tell the truth from the bull, and this movie was truthfully refreshing.

  • t-adewos-eghnowkyan
    t adewos eghnowkyan

    The film had potential overall, despite its flaws in lead character transformation. We needed to feel more engaged in the process as the story line developed. The Challenger may have missed the mark in accurately portraying the sport of boxing, but a story of ‘the underdog overcoming the odds’ never grows old. Novice writer/director, Kent Moran, may have a bright future ahead of him if he continues to hone his craft by taking more risks and researching subject matter with greater detail. As an actor, I would like to see more layers of emotion and facial expression invested in a lead character role as this one. Body language is a very powerful thing. It should reach out with more intensity, willing to reveal its vulnerable side. That is how an audience connects to integral characters and relates to the underlying story. You have to experience a certain amount of empathy it intends to project as the film progresses.I did enjoy the film’s merit and prose, and in particular the presence of Michael Clarke Duncan in his final supporting role as an actor. He did add substance and warmth to this project. The personal tribute and clip of him supporting The Challenger, including its modest crew, spoke volumes about his character and dedication to the small budget film industry. R.I.P. Michael C. Duncan. Never to be forgotten. ~D~

  • justinas-kavaliauskas
    justinas kavaliauskas

    Kent Moran’s “The Challenger” (2015) with Kent Moran, Michael Clarke Duncan, S. Epatha Merkerson, Justin Hartley, Frank Watson, Stan Carp, among others. Independent, low budget drama, winner of several Film Festivals, about a young man looking for his “American Dream” being a boxer, so we will witness his struggle and his inner strength. On his journey he will be accompanied by his adopted African-American mother, something you do not see every day, for Jade is white; And the support of your coach. The film has a classic narrative of the films about this sport, however, the approach is familiar, in the relations of the protagonist with his mother and with his coach, to all rule, the absent father’s character, and ultimately, in his Struggle to become a family. Honorable mention for Kent Moran as director, actor, screenwriter, publisher and producer of the film, which at 35 years stands as a great promise in the industry. While the story is predictable, and goes through the commons remembering the saga “ROCKY” and the like, is fairly balanced, is exciting, and has a good rhythm; The direction is very good, with a part of documentary style, the frames are good, the way it was filmed, and the choices made, provide airs of sincerity, which are rarely seen on screen for a debutante director; The choreographies of the fights are well mounted, the edition fulfills well the 95 minutes of footage, which do not make anything heavy, giving it much dynamics, without decaying. The narrative, focusing on the family nucleus, has no romantic history, and it is not necessary, because the struggle is individual, a metaphor for the spectator, to get ahead in the face of adversity; It is not surprising that this struggle is somewhat tarnished by sentimentality and melodrama, but without being cheesy, forced, pathetic or superimposed. Of the cast, Kent Moran has a lot of potential, not only is he charismatic and talented, but comes out well in his records, more knowing of his multifunctionality in the production, and his character is given to want; Michael Clarke Duncan, in his last role before dying of a heart attack, is immense, demonstrating a great interpretive level, where we will witness his “swan song”, an actor who had a lot to give; Also highlights S. Epatha Merkerson as the mother, who is the anchor and motive of the film. The antagonist, who is not such, because the real villain is adversity itself, Justin Hartley plays a good role, playing the protagonist’s human opponent; Other fun characters, are the employer of the workshop, and the owner of the liquor store, who are friendly. Here “do not fight to lose” is a story of the weakest that outweigh the odds. Attention to the final credits, which are the icing on the cake, with the words of Clarke Duncan for a recording team of no more than 7 people. Kent Moran has a bright future ahead if he continues to perfect his craft, taking more risks, and researching issues in greater detail. A complete achievement, for a remarkable result, and very motivating if you see with an open mind. RECOMMENDED. It will NOT have a note in Lecturas Cinematográficas. http://lecturascinematograficas.blogspot.com/

  • valentin-skok
    valentin skok

    I and a friend watched this movie on a late Friday night in Madrid, Spain. I must say that usually boxing movies bore me to death but my flat mate likes action movies so we settled for this on the internet, and yes surprisingly I found this movie well paced and convincing and very well scripted and acted. That the lead actor also wrote and directed the movie is very commendable. It was a job very well done. The performances of Duncan and Merkerson were exceptional. So, in all, we two men in Madrid on a late Friday night really enjoyed this boxing movie set in the Bronx as we felt it was made with feeling and sensitivity. It will definitely keep my eyes open for Kent Morgans future works.

  • anzhela-ts-olakyan
    anzhela ts olakyan

    Why would you cast the champion to look like a bigger version of the skinny young boxer? They looked so much alike I didn’t know who was who unless they were together and you saw the 2 foot difference in height

  • bibiana-ferri
    bibiana ferri

    First and foremost, I am not a critic nor pretend to be one; but I was simply moved with the viewing of The Challenger today. This small independent film exceeded my expectations. What really impressed me the most about Kent Moran’s directorial debut feature film was his approach to subject matter, casting and how he utilized the limited resources for the telling of the story. It breathed with an air of sincerity, which is rarely seen these days. Yes, it was rather predicable at times and melodramatic – but that’s what movies are made of. Hollywood has been dazzling and manipulating our senses for God knows how long. Remember ROCKY ? However, The Challenger is unusually different among it’s former colleagues.What really sets this movie apart for me; was the fact that it was very innovative in style and not so conventional as others. For instance, take the sequence of the final bout. It was not your typical in your face adrenaline shots, most commonly used. It was choreographed in a dream-like state of fragmented movement. And furthermore, the choice of music during the fight scene was impeccably complimentary. Also, let’s consider the interesting angular character development which was achieved in the film’s short running time.As far as Kent, Cast and Crew goes – I commend them all for their splendid work. My only regret is that Michael Clarke Duncan did not see this theatrical release. His performance along with S. Epatha Merkerson were the heart and soul of this marvelous story.Oh, by the way – Who the hell was that 2nd Unit Director?Somebody Give That Man A Job!

  • asemes-spelios-karampas
    asemes spelios karampas

    This movie has many more good things than not so good things which I’ll mention in a bit but first I can’t help but say RIP Mr. Duncan. You were a fantastic actor and will be missed. The challenger was a well written story that could be very motivational if watched with an opened mind. Kent Morgan I am sure will be seen again and hopefully with a little more energy. Now the not so good. The fighting choreography was totally unrealistic but I gave it a pass based on the movie kept my attention the entire time. If only it got more of a budget than there is no doubt in my mind that The challenger would of been huge

  • bryan-stokes
    bryan stokes

    Ok, let’s face it, there is only so much you can do with a championship boxing movie. To be honest the story is very unlikely. However, this one has something special. The 90 minutes flew past very quickly for me which is my proof that I enjoyed it. The acting was superb, the fight scenes were reasonable and the story, although far from reality drew me in and had me routing for the main character. Although Kent Moran doesn’t look like he has ever truly fought in a ring he played the title role really well and was very likeable. Michael Clarke Duncan played the supporting role equally well and was very believable as the trainer. It was refreshing to see a boxing movie without any romantic complications blurring the story. Yes, it was the rise of the underdog as most of them are. And yes, there were plenty of touching family moments but no love interests. Another thing I liked was that the opponents were not painted as the bad guys like in so many other movies. Anyway, I watch a lot of boxing movies and this is definitely worth watching. 7/10

  • tijn-van-der-kaay
    tijn van der kaay

    This is a low-key Rocky movie but so what? The acting was not bad and it’s great for a movie to watch real quick. My biggest complaint is that the last boxer looks so much like the protagonist.

  • kelly-wilson
    kelly wilson

    I couldn’t enjoy this film as the storyline was just too far fetched. A poor white guy decides to become a professional boxer to earn money to resolve a family issue. This same guy has no previous boxing experience but after a few months of what appears to be very ordinary training turns pro. Despite being only being a club fighter he can afford to give up his 9 to 5 job as a mechanic to focus full time on boxing. At no point is there ANY explanation as to why he is able to rise so fast in the pro ranks – no reference to having supernatural one punch power, no comments that the kid is a natural or even that he has been lucky enough to spar with some great pros to explain the development.7 fights in fights the light heavy champ of the world – both fight like bums, take a beating, never hold and the fight is so poorly choreographed it is an embarrassment !

  • gareth-rickard
    gareth rickard

    Jaden Miller (Kent Moran) is a mechanic who lives in the Bronxs with his mother Jada (S. Epatha Merkerson). Both Jaden and his mother have little money and are faced with the threat of eviction, but Jaden sees an opportunity to rid his family of their financial woes and decides to take up boxing. Jaden strikes up a friendship with Duane (Michael Clarke Duncan) a boxing coach who refuses to train ‘rookies’. Duane is initially cynical of Jaden, but when he witnesses Jaden’s dedication and determination he continues coaching him all the way up to the top where Jaden eventually faces off against the world champion.With The Challenger what you’re basically seeing is another reworking of Rocky with Jaden going through the same basic motions; a rookie boxer working his way to the top and defying the odds by getting that elusive title shot. Anyone who has seen the Rocky films (or practically any boxing film) will have seen this all before and the picture really does offer no real surprises. Despite this though, I have to admit that I still found the film watchable and despite the predictable plot turns I still found the story to be fairly engaging. Moran’s writing & directing is pretty good and the film is fairly balanced and well-paced.One problem I did have with this film is that it is lacking in intensity; I quite liked this film, but it didn’t stir up the same emotion in me as Rocky did or many other boxing themed films. I just didn’t feel much passion for Jaden and his cause and for that reason I just couldn’t get behind him and his cause as much as I should have done. In fact, when the film ended it’s a film that I respected and admired, but could never really grow to love.As Jaden’s mother, Jada behaves in typical ‘motherly fashion’. She’s mortified about Jaden’s new career choice and does her best to talk him out of it, but then when he’s at the top she couldn’t be more proud. This is nice to see (even if her sudden acceptance of him being a boxer seems a bit contrived). This is all OK, but Moran overdoes things in this respect by giving Duane and Jaden’s mother a past – which is just manipulative and unnecessary and also the flashbacks when Jaden hits the canvas in his title match are examples of Moran trying too hard to force emotion onto his audience.I’ve been quite harsh on this film, but in all honesty it really isn’t that bad. The pacing is good and Moran’s story is serviceable – the only part that I thought was a bit silly was when the crew were following Jaden around ‘documentary style’. I can only assume that Moran introduced this into the story to inject some originality – it also seemed terribly convenient how quickly this aspect of the story was dropped as well. Moran’s directing and writing are OK, but his acting wasn’t great and he really should have given more of a heart to the picture. The Challenger is notable for being Michael Clarke Duncan’s last film and in typical fashion the big man doesn’t disgrace himself and puts in another solid performance.RIP Michael Clarke Duncan.

  • jessica-ferguson-george
    jessica ferguson george

    It’s an Indy film, with a very limited budget and a very limited time. And yet, it shows very little of that in the movie. The cast and crew made a film that’s fun, engaging and ultimately well worth the time.The cinematography was excellent. The sound and music great. The fight choreography was solid, exciting and believable. The acting was almost uniformly top notch.The way it was filmed, the choices made, like the laundry mat guy watching TV somehow enhanced the movie in subtle and engaging ways. It’s not a perfect movie. The believability for the main story line was thin and the film suffers from some missing pieces. But ultimately, I didn’t care and it didn’t bother me. I would have liked to see the main character getting kicked out of schools for fighting…it would have established his character and helped to build up some plausibility for later when we had to buy into the idea that he was a natural fighter who progressed so rapidly, that he got to the light heavy weight championship in less than an year.I think the story suffered from too much ambition, but the editing and the choices made helped keep this a solid film with a lot of entertainment value.The mother was amazing. She needed a bigger piece of the movie. There are pieces of the movie that you at first go, “hunh?” but are explained later. It should have been more satisfying when the revelations came in, but that, I think, was a victim of the budget and time. Remember, this is an Indy film. It’s done on an extremely limited budget.So, the bottom line for me was that I expected to seem more “warts” in the film. Instead, I saw a well crafted, well edited, well filmed movie that I thoroughly enjoyed.I highly recommend it as it being of better quality than most of what’s been in the theaters this year.disclaimer: I’m related to someone who worked on the film, so I’m probably not completely objective here. I’m also not a movie critic. If I enjoy a movie, I give it high marks. In this movie’s case, I gave it a 9 because I walked out very happy I’d seen it. At no point in the movie did I fail to stay engaged in it. I took 1 off for the issues I mentioned above. They were too minor in my eyes.

  • nicholas-guerrero
    nicholas guerrero

    I noticed Justin Hartley’s name in the credits, so the first 5 minutes of the film I thought I was seeing Hartley on the screen. Then when there was more light in the next scene, I thought this actor “can’t be” Justin Hartley, and I wondered why does he look so similar?! The film’s protagonist is actually Kent Moran, who’s several years younger than Hartley and has a similar hair color, hairline, hair style, eye color, face shape, chin cleft, and body type as Justin Hartley. It was like watching Sylvester Stallone fight Frank Stallone in a Rocky movie. Other than the film’s main characters looking so similar, the movie was decent. It depicts a black woman who adopted a white son, and that’s something you don’t see every day.

  • guilherme-ferreira
    guilherme ferreira

    Possibly the best part of this movie was the fact that Michael Clarke Duncan starred in it, three years after his death. The movie does showcase what a good man we lost.Duncan plays a coach who sees potential in a poor kid from the Bronx who tries to fight his way out of his stereotypical life story.Unfortunately, the timing of this movie stinks. Despite the fact that it was most likely made first, it’s released after the far better South Paw, makes me think of it as a low budget South Paw.What does set it apart from other boxing films is it’s commentary on where boxing is today and what can be done to fix it, namely a Cable station wants to exploit the challenger with a reality show that leads up to his fight with the current heavy weight champ as to way to bring back the Heavy Weights that have been long gone since Tyson/Holyfeild.The challenger has a lot to its story without being too overwhelming. Although the actors were not that convincing for me as even light Heavyweights, they all worked together well to give an emotional heart filled story. The Best part of the boxing scenes is the advice the coaches would give the athletes in-between rounds. The focus on this, especially with Duncan’s character is what the challenger brings to the table.Not the best boxing movie I’ve seen but it works for me. R.I.P Michael Clarke Duncan.

  • vep-xvia-kandelaki
    vep xvia kandelaki

    This movie was pretty painful to watch. There is nothing innovative about it. I’m not a critic per say, I’ve just seen a lot of boxing movies. This is really a combination of every boxing movie all crammed into one poorly executed mess. If you know anything about boxing, you know that the movie doesn’t even try to be believable. The boxing itself was pretty bad. The lines were predictable and trite.First of all, no one goes pro, and gets a title shot in 6 months. That’s not even enough time to even have an amateur career. Guys train for years just to turn pro. I mean, I realize it’s a movie, but give me break.Overall it was really quite bad, and not worthy of Michael Clarke Duncan. If you were trying to make a parody of all the boxing movies, this would be it.

  • alexandra-mota-leal
    alexandra mota leal

    I guess it’s an Indy film. It didn’t seem cheap. The acting, filming and all that seemed fine. The story was very very lame. A boy is in a pitiful sad life because of too much fighting at school even though he was destined for more. He apparently got into all these fight for good reasons because he has absolutely no rage issues whatever. He’s just a sweet, kind, Mama’s boy who only wants to take care of his sick mother. He starts boxing and for no reason and barely any time to practice, he’s just an incredible boxer. A few motivational words from his new boxing coach whom has a much bigger back story relevant to his life and wow, he’s a champion. Geez, I should just go off and be the next ultimate fighter champion. I just have to want it bad enough and no problem, I’ll beat all those people for no apparent reason, it’s just that easy.

  • arcelia-gamez
    arcelia gamez

    absolutely nothing original about this movie. its a knock off of rocky, or like a bunch of other boxing movies, but very poorly made. The build up is rushed, the boxing training is short, he goes from boxing in a local club to fighting for a title after 7 fights, lol, its almost embarrassing to watch. anyone who has watched real boxing, will find this ridiculous. The main character, the boxer, is sort of lame, he show no real hunger to either train or fight. it feels weird. the main fight of the movie, is poorly made, you don’t see, not even half a round; you only get some silly glimpse of the roundsAnd both take damage way beyond what they would ever be able to handle in reality, which makes it look even more ridiculous. I urge you not to waste your time or money.

  • ingeborg-berntsen
    ingeborg berntsen

    I decided to watch the Challenger right after seeing a great documentary about boxing. I was inspired by the struggle and the inner strength of men who only had their fists to get them out of poverty. On the other hand, the challenger… is the most uninspirational movie you can ever watch about the beautiful science. It’s lame, predictable, and absolute rubbish. The hero looks like a midget but fights for the heavyweight title held by a guy who looks more like a toothpaste ad. Everything starts when the “hero” decides one day to start boxing, having shown no interest before. He trains for what looks like 3 weeks and starts knocking out everyone. Somehow, he gets a title shot out of nowhere….and before you know it, I am asleep and do not care about how it ends. I can guess it. From miles away. In fact miles away is how far you should stay from this movie. It stinks!

  • brandy-downs
    brandy downs

    As a big boxing fan, I find myself more attracted to fight films than I really should be. Please, please leave my favorite sport alone. I’m too much of a loser not to watch. Did he not think to get someone on board who knew something about boxing when he made this (and hired himself as the protagonist). By the way, you are nowhere near 175 pound Light Heavyweight size, you could have made it about a 154 pound fighter and that’s still a great division. Why’s your opponent sitting in the corner before the fight starts? That doesn’t happen. You don’t touch gloves then sit in your corner and get a pep talk. You don’t get to sit until the end of round 1!Why doesn’t your build/ size change when you go from being a non- athlete to a full time boxer? Why did you go from 0 bouts as an amateur straight into the pros? Why was the number 7 spot in the WBC fighting in a bout against a novice from the club circuit? Why do you throw straight arm punches with a really bent arm like a hook? You do know they’re different punches right? How is this the fight of the 21st century? It’s almost like you really hate boxing so you made a really flawed film to get your own back on the boxing community.

  • danielle-poirier
    danielle poirier

    White pretty boy plays a poor mechanic from the hood who decides to become a pro boxer to support his sick black mother. While it’s not badly made for a small film, the absurd casting ruins every scene, and discovering that the writer/director is the leading actor reveals how you’ve been cheated of your time. The entire plot is ludicrous anyway, a thin and inferior imitation of real boxing movies; the acting is weak and lazy even from the real actors desperate enough to have taken the job; and the fight scenes are boring. It’s unfortunate that Kent Moran can’t be put on trial to provide some explanation for what he had done and beg for forgiveness.

  • gaetano-rinaldi
    gaetano rinaldi

    When Stallone did Rocky I, you would think from the hype at the time that he invented the boxing film.No he did not. He re-invented it. Boxing films have been around forever and the first rule of a good boxing film is to connect with the audience by allowing them to “grow” with the protagonist, to improve from fight to fight.And that was the first rule the producers broke.Given the minimal amount of screen time alloted to the “early” fights for the protagonist/hero (in some cases just 2 seconds per fight) you may have thought that these were real cable fights where the producers did not have the rights to rebroadcast. But no this is a fiction film and they could have made those fights real. They did not.Frankly, once you break that key rule, once you have no connection between star and viewer, there is no turning back.But, almost out of perversity, the producers broke another rule and that amazes me. They cast two actors who look alike for both roles in the ring, hero and villain.So, and I cannot emphasize the bizarreness of this enough, not only does the audience have no connection with the hero in the final fight, but sometimes you can’t tell which actor is playing which role.And the final rule? Good choreography in the fights. The audience should feel every punch. Here the audience only feels cheated.A rarity. A boxing film that, like a bad boxer, starts out weak. And then just gets weaker.Of course, the fact that the film is a “vanity” film — the same guy is the writer director and star — may be a factor. But what do I know — I am just a reviewer.Terrible film.