Feel-good boxing tale, but frequent bullying and taunting.
  • Review Date: January 8, 2013
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 95 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The film shows the importance of setting goals and putting in the time and effort to meet those goals. Also, how teens can take constructive action toward solving social problems, especially by learning self defense.

Positive role models

Despite the difficulties of attending a new high school and living in a new home with a new stepfather, Matthew Miller proves himself to be resilient and tough, a fighter not just in the boxing ring. As a mentor and coach, Dan Barnes is a patient instructor, dedicated to helping Matthew realize his full potential.


Frequent bullying and taunting, including one teen knocking down another in a school hallway, a fist fight, and several incidents meant to embarrass -- ultimately met with consequences. Boxing violence including one set-up where Hector goes overboard in the ring, leaving Matthew knocked down, bloody, and with a black eye. During legitimate high school boxing matches and sparring practices in the ring, punches land in characters' faces, heads, and chests. Occasionally, a punch leaves a character knocked down or dazed.


A high school freshman boy and girl kiss while on a movie date.


Frequent taunting. A bully frequently calls others in his high school names like "loser" and "poindexter." Also: "sucks," "butt."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Knockout is a 2011 feel-good sports movie starring teen favorite "Stone Cold" Steve Austin with frequent bullying and taunting between the "jock" Hector and the "new kid" Matthew. Even as Matthew trains and learns to box, he is pushed, shoved, called names, and knocked down almost every time he runs into Hector at school. In the boxing ring, Matthew is beaten up and bloodied by Hector. In spite of the bullying, Matthew learns to box, but more importantly, learns to believe in himself, to set and meet realistic goals, and to persevere through the difficulties of high school and family life -- messages that will ring true to older tweens and teens.

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

Bookish Matthew Miller (Daniel Magder) is upset because he is leaving his friends and beloved private school behind when his mother and stepfather find a new home in a new town. At his new school, Matthew quickly befriends two kids who proudly proclaim their allegiance to no clique, but when one of his new friends puts him up to asking out a popular cheerleader, Matthew meets the cheerleader's boyfriend, Hector -- a state boxing champion and a bully. Hector immediately begins bullying and taunting Matthew at every opportunity. When the school janitor, Dan Barnes (Steve Austin), discovers Matthew is interested in boxing, he encourages him to take up the sport and join the boxing club. After getting pummeled in the ring by Hector during boxing club tryouts, Dan -- who Matthew learns was a former boxer -- gives him a few pointers. Matthew begs Dan to train him, and teach him the art of boxing. Even as he learns and develops as a boxer under Dan's tutelage, Matthew's mother and stepfather want him to quit after a bruising incident with Hector. And when Matthew goes against his parents' wishes, Matthew must learn self-reliance and responsibility for his actions, both in and out of the ring.

Is it any good?


While not in the same league as other feel-good sports movies like Rocky or The Karate Kid, KNOCKOUT makes full use of its limited budget and delivers a movie with lots of boxing action. Besides this, the movie is unafraid to tackle difficult issues like bullying, high school cliques, the challenges of being the new kid in school, and the issues stepparents and stepchildren face living under the same roof. As an actor, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin has a good handle on what he can and cannot do, and turns in an enjoyable performance as a high school janitor and former boxer.

Most of the dialogue -- especially between the outcast kids of the high school -- rings true, and even in spite of the occasional moments of overacting from Daniel Magder (who plays the bullied new kid), the characters are both likeable and believable. The bullying scenes and the blood in the boxing matches might be a bit much for younger or more sensitive viewers, but for boxing fans, and fans of Steve Austin's glory days as a pro wrestler, Knockout is an entertaining movie.  

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how bullying is addressed in this movie. Did school administrators, teachers, coaches, parents, and students respond appropriately to Hector's bullying? What would you do in the face of bullying?

  • How accurately does the film reflect the realities of cliques in high school? What rings true and what doesn't?

  • Overall, how does this movie compare to other "feel-good" sports movies?

Movie details

DVD release date:April 26, 2011
Cast:Benjamin Ratner, Daniel Magder, Steve Austin
Director:Anne Wheeler
Studio:Phase 4 Films
Topics:Sports and martial arts, High school
Run time:95 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:boxing action, some bullying and language

This review of Knockout was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Inspiring sports film about a real-life underdog.
  • '80s classic is still fun for families with older tweens.
  • Boxing Best Picture sets underdog-hero standard; drinking.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 13 years old Written bydestinytig July 9, 2015


This is good movie. This movie also teaches you to fight for what you believe and to always follow your dreams.
What other families should know
Great messages
Kid, 10 years old July 15, 2014

bad movie.

What other families should know
Too much violence


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Special Needs Guide