21 January 2020 | MartinHafer
Why was Anne so nasty in this one? I have no idea...and it sure didn't help the story.
One thing I hate in series films is when characters behave inconsistently. An example were the Blondie films of the 1940s. In a few, Blondie just seemed inexplicably nasty--accusing poor Dagwood of being unfaithful and treating him like dirt throughout the film...even though he was a very loving husband. Well, the same problem occurs here in "Joe Palooka in The Counterpunch". While Anne has been Joe's love interest from the beginning, here she is uncharacteristically nasty...so much so that it's obvious the writers were either lazy or using second-rate material.
The story begins with Knobby arranging a fight between Joe and an apparently punch-drunk Latin American champ. This means they'll have to cruise down to fight in the opponent's neck of the woods. And so, most of the film takes place on this cruise ship. One plot involves Anne seeing Joe grabbing a woman. She thinks he's being unfaithful...but Joe was just grabbing her to prevent her from falling. Throughout most of the rest of the film, Anne is nasty and goes to work as a newspaper reporter covering the case!! Does this make sense? Of course not. The other plot involves crime...with Joe and Knobby helping authorities capture folks in a counterfeiting ring.
In addition to Anne behaving oddly in the film, it's also quite unusual because so little of the movie is actually about boxing. It's more like a typical B-mystery set on the high seas than a boxing picture. This isn't necessarily a complaint...but I am pretty sure some viewers were left baffled by all this. As for me, I didn't mind the mystery...but I really minded Anne's nastiness as it showed little consistency or loyalty towards the character. As a result, it felt like a second-rate installment of the series. Worth seeing if you've seen the previous films but otherwise not one of the more distinguished movies in the series.
By the way, at the big fight at the end of the film the referee must have been drunk, as the Latin American boxer punched Joe 10 seconds AFTER the round ended and delivered many illegal blows. Realism, I guess, wasn't a major concern here.