Award-winning 2019 action movie Knuckle City is delivering a knock-out blow on Showmax. It’s the action drama you didn’t know you needed in your life – especially if you’ve watched one boxing movie and thought you’d seen them all.
Even if you just watch for the inspirational speeches, you’re in for a treat – and shivers down your spine. Read this: “Boxing is yesterday’s sport. People want to see action. They want to see blood!” You’re stepping in the ring and you’re going to take a beating. It’s dark and fast-paced – you’re going to feel like you’ve gone 12 rounds in the ring yourself by the time the credits roll up.
Here’s a peek at the fighters’ card as the characters roll out with their punches…
Dudu (Bongile Mantsai) is the ageing hero of the movie. He’s a boxer who’s been through the ringer, professionally and personally. And he’s come out beaten down, battered and bruised. But like any true fighter, he isn’t willing to give up on his dream – and it’s within reach, if he can just get that one big fight that he’s been chasing after. Dudu makes one big mistake though, trusting his dodgy brother Duke, a gangster who’s just been released from prison. It’s not the right way of going about the boxing business, but when the odds are stacked against you, there’s nothing you won’t do to get that fight.
Where you know Bongile from: he plays shady businessman Mthunzi on soapie Scandal! and was Vija in controversial coming-of-age movie Inxeba in 2018, about the practice of traditional circumcision in Southern Africa. Inxeba: The Wound is on Showmax too.
Duke (Thembekile Komani) is a wheeler-dealer conman who doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks the walk too. When he smells opportunity, he strikes like a cobra – and in the world of fighting, where gambling is the only thing more important than the fight itself, you can bet that Duke has his grubby paws deep in every pie. And while he loves his brother Dudu, Duke isn’t above taking advantage when it benefits him most. Blood might be thicker than water, but sometimes you need to put sibling love aside to fill your pockets.
Where you know Thembekile from: loads of theatre plays, where he’s worked on stage and behind the curtains. Most recently he played William in local thriller drama The Girl From St Agnes – stream it on Showmax here.
Goatee (Siv Ngesi) is Dudu’s rival and he’s the champion of the ring. He’s also got that cocky swagger and out-of-control ego that makes him so easy to love as the villain of the story. But don’t mistake his arrogance as unfounded – Goatee has worked his way up the boxing ladder without so much as breaking a sweat, batting away opponents left, right and centre on his way to the title he so proudly reminds everyone is his.
Where you know Siv from: everywhere. He started in comedy, he’s had his own shows, does MCing, presenting, hosting, acting and he’s a star behind the camera too in the producer and director’s chairs. Siv has also been in huge international shows like Strike Back and Black Sails (as Udo), and you can see him in comedy caper Copposites alongside Rob van Vuuren, as well as in the M-Net Original Still Breathing, both on Showmax.
Art (Zolisa Xaluva) is Duke and Dudu’s infamous dad. There’s only one problem with the brothers seeing him – he’s dead. Flashbacks reveal the mean, cold, cruel, difficult, hardened man that Art was while the boys were growing up and it explains why they turned out the way they did. And just because he’s long gone doesn’t mean that Art isn’t having an influence on Dudu in and out of the ring.
Where you know Zolisa from: right now, the SA acting icon is playing strict high school headmaster Melusi Dlamini in the hit Mzansi Magic telenovela Gomora. Don’t know what the fuss is about? Stream it on Showmax from episode 1, with new episodes added daily.
Minky (Angela Sithole) is the calm in Dudu’s life as his girlfriend. She’s stood by him through his ups and downs (which there have been far more of thanks to his cheating ways). She’s tired of seeing him get hurt and she’s willing to stand by him one last time… praying and hoping that he’s going to get his dream and be able to give up his violent lifestyle to build a family with her.
Where you know Angela from: she’s playing Zano in telenovela Lithapo and she’s made a career out of soapie roles, like Terry in Zabalaza, Bev in Isidingo, Naledi in Generations and, if you’re on Showmax right now, you will see her as Onica in flashy drug drama soapie The Queen.
Bra Pat (Patrick Ndlovu) is Dudu’s coach. He’s been in the business long enough to know those who have it and those who don’t just by looking them in the eye. His methods aren’t conventional and he’s not everyone’s cup of tea in the boxing world either. But that makes Bra Pat and Dudu’s partnership all the more special – they have a connection that is unstoppable against any opponent. Now they just need to put all their hard work in the gym together in the final round of Dudu’s fight for survival.
Where you know Patrick from: this man is a legend in SA’s acting world. He’s been there, done that, got the T-shirt… and then some. He’s done everything from the iconic Shaka Zulu miniseries in 1986 (as Mudli), to playing Manshowe in 1996 miniseries Rhodes, and The Minister in 1996 Hollywood movie Danger Zone opposite Billy Zane and Robert Downey Jr.