Action director Walter Hill (48 HRS., The Warriors, Streets of Fire) unofficially splices the Mike Tyson story into 1979’s Penitentiary as he gives the prison-based boxing genre a stylistic face lift. Ving Rhames (who recently trained to star in a now-stalled Sonny Liston biopic) plays Tyson-like heavyweight champ George “Iceman” Chambers, who has been convicted of a date rape that he rigorously denies. Iceman is sentenced to a maximum security Mojave Desert correctional facility where a former young contender (Wesley Snipes) and current prison champ is serving a life sentence for murder. The two hardened gladiators bump heads and egos before an elderly, foul-mouthed mobster (Peter Falk) promotes a covert bout in which one man fights for honor alone while the other fights for an early release date that will resurrect his future. Hill, who masterfully shot the bare-knuckle savagery of 1975’s Hard Times, draws blood from the mythical potential of the story with a sharp head butt of unsavory characters and bottomless corruption.