Plot: Matthew (Daniel Madger) has just moved to a new town, which means a new school and for him, making new friends isn’t a simple task. He was at a private school and his grades were excellent, so the return to public school isn’t an ideal situation, at least in his eyes. The first day at school sees Matthew dressed in his usual suit and tie, which makes him even more of an outcast than normal, but he does befriend a couple of outsiders and that’s better than he expected. In order to be accepted into their outcast circle, Matthew has to perform a dare and he is tasked to ask out the school’s head cheerleader, which raises the ire of her jock boyfriend. He is punked out in front of the school, then when he tries to join the boxing club, the same jock trounces him the ring. He considers giving up, but a kindly janitor Dan (Steve Austin) steps in to encourage him. But can this creepy janitor whip Matthew into shape so he can hold his own in the ring?
Entertainment Value: Also known as Born to Fight, Knockout is a mostly terrible Karate Kid knockoff, but it does have “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Even if you’re not a fan of his cinematic efforts, the idea of Austin as this creepy, bizarre janitor that calls kids trash is still kind of cool, right? Austin’s performance is reserved and he shows little of his usual charisma, which makes the custodian that much creepier. Aside from Austin’s odd role however, Knockout is pretty lame and just follows the usual underdog fights back thread, with no fresh touches. Even Austin’s role is an obvious Mr. Miyagi tribute, but at least his presence adds a little fun here. The narrative is bland and predictable, with zero effort to mix things up or at least throw in a fun twist, just a straight ahead, paint by numbers underdog story in this one. The rehashed plot wouldn’t be an issue if the writing was sharp or the performances were good, but in this case, both of those elements are far below passable. The acting is wooden and forgettable, while the writing just hits all the expected points and little else. The lone draw here is Austin and to be honest, he is given so little to do, even his presence doesn’t salvage this one. So unless you’re an Austin super fan, you can skip Knockout.
No nakedness. This one is aimed at a younger audience and beyond that, our lead isn’t a likely candidate to score. And while Austin is quite creepy as the janitor here, the movie never veers into the sexual predator realm. No blood. The movie is about boxing, so it has some brief, not well staged fights at times. These could have injected some much needed life into the movie, but the boxing matches are very quick and show little style or impact, which is a shame. And if you were hoping Austin would deliver a stunner to the nerd at the end, as a lesson about trust, no such luck. Believe me, that would have almost redeemed this one, however. The dialogue is like oatmeal, bland and plain and not really memorable at all. Austin has some bright spots, such as calling some of the students trash, but they’re infrequent at best. As for craziness points, no such luck here. The role Austin has is an odd one, but nothing is done with it.
Overall Insanity: 0/10