Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Condemned

The Condemned is another terrible movie starring a professional wrestler, but unlike The Marine it's not the stupidly enjoyable kind of terrible. Well, that's not completely accurate, there were a few idiotic moments that provided laughs, but in general it's a joyless, brainless action movie that has the balls to be preachy about its own lack of joy and brains. The plot is a shameless rip-off of Battle Royale, with convicts on death row instead of Japanese high-schoolers. The idea of people being forced to fight to the death for the amusement of others wasn't original to that movie, but every detail seems to be copied, like the remote island, exploding collars, and choppered-in supplies. For some reason though, Battle Royale seemed less tasteless. Maybe it's because every female contestant wasn't sexually assaulted and it didn't try to justify itself by having the villain pontificate on how bad the government and the mass media is.

As just an action movie though, it's not that great either. There were some entertaining confrontations, but mostly it's just some brutal beatings, explosions, and a few people getting shot. I used to watch some wrestling when my brother was getting into it a while ago, and Steve Austin was always an entertaining anti-hero, probably my favorite one. None of that gruff charisma really comes across here though, as he tries to be as nonviolent as possible and never even has any good cheesy one-liners. I don't see who they were trying to appeal to, it was too dumb to be a good movie but not dumb enough to be a fun bad movie. Vinnie Jones is the psychotic "evil" contestant, but doesn't seem to be as likable outside of a Guy Ritchie movie, and the only truly good moment was the absurdity of the main bad guy's death. A truly silly scene in a movie that didn't have many others. I really can't recommend this to anybody.

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