Looking back at Stone Cold’s first foray into action with this ultimate hit!
Part of being a professional wrestler is having the ability to act a particular character in the ring convincingly enough. Many wrestlers have acquired some base acting skills, which would help them to make the transition towards starring in a feature film. After a long and successful career, Steve “Stone Cold” Austin decided to do just that. WWE Studios helped him to enter the movie arena with The Condemned. Scott Wiper was in charge as a director, and he came with the reference of his kick-ass debut A Better Way To Die.
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UAMC Reviews ‘The Condemned’
The Condemned tells the story of an illegal contest where a group of convicts from all over the world is forced to kill each other on a tropical island. Their violent clashes are broadcast illegally on the internet for paying audiences. Jack Conrad is one of the contestants, a wrongfully incarcerated Delta Force operative, who takes up the fight against his competitors and the production team of the broadcast. The premise of The Condemned is hardly original, a mixture of Takeshi Kitano’s Battle Royale and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s The Running Man. And while it does not have the sleaziness of the former and the cleverness of the latter, it turns out to be a more than solid actioner.
The movie starts with presenting the assembly of murderers, rapists and other psychopaths, and how they are “convinced” to take part in the contest. After that, the chase is on, with people running through the jungle trying to kill each other for the largest part of the movie. There’s some naive critique of the “anything goes on the internet” attitude, but it’s not really presented in a way that one is animated to reflect on it. The producers of the illegal broadcast are just another bunch of greedy criminals.
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With no real story to impress, the action better be good, and it’s freaking awesome! The centerpiece are the various fights between Austin and his fellow convicts. In a style similar to the Undisputed series, the movie is full of raw, close-up brutality. Bones break and skulls are cracked as Austin puts his wrestling skills to use.
His fighting style is rather static, but quite effective. He just grabs people and crushes them, or knocks them out with a couple of well-aimed punches. The shackles that are attached to the ankles of the contestants add to the excitement, as they explode when being tempered with and result in more than one person being ripped apart.
But, How Ultimate is it?
The production quality is excellent. The fights and shootouts are filmed intensely with the camera always being close to the action, and the movie moves at a good pace overall. The dialogues and characters on the other hand are as cliched and one-dimensional as they can get. Of course Austin’s character is ex-Delta Force, of course he’s locked up innocently, and of course he has a pretty wife waiting for him at home that follows his ordeal in front of the TV. None of this a problem, though, and one may even say that the whole setup creates a somewhat charming old-school vibe.
Steve Austin plays his part well enough, and makes a good impression with his stoic attitude and over-the-top physical traits. And Vinnie Jones, while acting out his usual role of a psychopathic sadistic killer, is a formidable counterpart, and the most charismatic villain of the whole bunch.
The Condemned does about everything right to make it a fun and exciting watch, and should please wrestling and old-school action fans alike.