Starring: Steve Austin, Vinnie Jones
Dir by: Scott Wiper
The Gist: 10 of the world's worst criminals are dropped on an island and forced to fight for their freedom until only one remains. The hitch? The entire world is watching it stream live on the internet.
When the esteemed Empire Magazine listed this as a movie you shouldn't dismiss in 2007, I kind of snickered. I mean, even though I am a fan of the Rock as an actor, this film stars Stone Cold Steve Austin in the lead role. The guy looks ridiculous, with no neck and no hair and that trademark WWE bulk, I just didn't know why anyone would cast this guy in a lead except that it's an action movie and it's a WWE movie, so that makes sense. What didn't, is that my beloved Empire recommended it. Ok, they aren't always 100% in their assessments but I have to admit I've been wanting to rent The Condemned ever since they wrote about it in their monthly movie mag.
So I finally watched it, hence the blog entry, and guess what? I really wasn't disappointed. The film actually had a great story, a good message, very decent acting from the lead and even bit players. I enjoyed the action and I'm not going to lie...I've seen most of it before but it didn't pull any punches and that's what I liked. It reminded me of great movies like Predator and Rambo, gritty and dirty.
Overall, the condemned wasn't a ground breaking action film like Die Hard but it certainly didn't belong in 'straight to DVD' territory either. I think this film has a wider audience than WWE fans and I hope that more people rent it. This type of blunt action isn't for everyone, but a decently constructed and well directed example is nothing to complain about.
If Steve Austin loses a bit of the bulk and quits wrestling, he might just have a chance at being a movie star. He's never going to be as interesting, charismatic and flexible as the Rock but he can definitely find his place in the action world.
3/5 Bruised Stars!