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Massawyrm Becomes An Advocate For THE CONDEMNED!!

Hola all. Massawyrm here. I know what you’re thinking. You’re giggling about this film already. I mean, come on, it stars a wrestler and has a huge WWE logo plastered on the front of it. There’s no fucking way in hell that this is gonna be any good whatsoever. It can’t be. It’s not allowed to be. So let the critical dog pile commence. Let’s dust off the clichés, let’s don our high-minded attitudes, and let’s, for a moment, pretend that we’ve never watched a minute of wrestling in our lives. Not even when we were kids. Come on everybody! There’re enough high horses for everyone! Of course, my question is this: Why can’t it be good? I mean, let’s ignore The Rock for a second and consider him some sort of anomaly. What about all the other wrestlers? Virtually every single major wrestler out there that has been given one real shot has one GOOD film that they can call their own that we can’t give them shit about. Rowdy Roddy Piper has They Live, Andre The Giant had The Princess Bride, Jesse “The Body” Ventura got two - The Running Man and Predator - before he became a Governor. Hell, even Hulk Hogan’s attempts to make crapfest after crapfest can’t erase the fact that he appeared in Rocky 3 - although he appeared to try real hard to make us forget that. Of course there are the guys who tried and missed – Like Paul “The Giant” Wight in Jingle All the Way - but some of our most beloved geek movies have wrestlers. So why the hell aren’t we willing to give any others a chance? Because, as it turns out, The Condemned is actually one hell of a loud, mindless, ass kicking, HELL YEAH of a movie. And it stars a wrestler. Is it the smartest thing you’ve ever seen? Oh fuck no. It ain’t even the smartest thing I’ve seen all day. I’ve got a pair of Golden Retrievers and let me tell you, those pups occasionally surprise me. But this? It’s a redneck rehash of about a dozen other films. But it does very much know what it is and actually strives to do something a bit different, while delivering the expected action thrills, action chills and action clichés. It’s the story of a man who has purchased 10 of the worlds most dangerous criminals from death row cells around the world, dumped them on a deserted South Pacific island filled with cameras, strapped bombs to their legs and told them that the last one alive gets to walk off the island a free man. But he didn’t count on one thing. STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN is one of those men! Yeah. Even without seeing the trailer or frame one of the film, I know what you’re thinking. Gee, I wonder if Austin is really an innocent man and will turn out to be some sort of Special Forces guy? Don’t worry, The Condemned has got you covered. No cliché is spared. Not in this film. So how on God’s green earth did I manage to like it? Because writer/director Scott Wiper knows the clichés, and is trying pretty hard to use them against you. Sure this movie requires all the brainpower of a developing 12 year old boy on a sugar high to understand – and sure it at times seems to have been edited by one – but that doesn’t stop the action from kicking ass – or the movie from zigging when you think it’s gonna zag. Hell, despite the fact that this is a story we’ve seen at least a dozen times before, they even manage to tell an angle no one’s really fleshed out before. The How in the hell does anyone manage to so much as work the cameras in a game this inhumane and doesn’t anyone have a conscience angle. We spend plenty of time in the booth – ssshhhhhh with REAL actors even – and not a minute of it is boring stuff. Just when you think they’re gonna lay it on thick, they actually make it pretty interesting. And there are some pretty awesome kills in this as well – not in terms of blood, but rather, if you’ll pardon the pun, in execution. They’re the kind of kills you walk out of the theatre talking to your buddies about. Oh dude, and when that chick totally snowed that guy! I KNOW! Which really, is the point of this whole thing. This isn’t high art. This is Movies for Guys Who Like Movies. It’s explosions and ass beatings and clever one-liners. And for anyone that likes or can have fun with that kind of thing (like last years Crank) it is a hell of a good time that proves to be WAY better than you probably think it has any right to be. Stone Cold performs admirably in his first leading role. I mean, it’s not like they gave him any soliloquies or anything, but he certainly sells everything he’s given and provides enough charisma to drive the film. And backing him up as one hell of a killer douchebag heavy is Vinnie Jones – who plays one surprisingly dark, vicious, rapist motherfucker. A bulk of the film really relies upon just how much you HATE him as the baddie. But obvious problems aside, The Condemned does have a few issues of its own. First and foremost, while the action in the film is pretty cool at times, there are a few scenes that fall into the annoying as fuck QUICKCUTSHAKYCAMWTFISGOINGON editing style. Not all of them, just a handful – which fortunately are over pretty quickly. Then, much to the disservice of the film, the director felt the need to insert some pretty heavy handed commentary towards the end in which there is a monologue that pretty much tries to excuse the director for making this kind of film while admonishing the audience for watching it. It’s something along the lines of We wouldn’t make it if you didn’t pay to watch it, so it’s all your fault. While certainly a true statement, it is wholly unnecessary and comes off as just a tad bit pretentious. And nothing that stars a professional wrestler should EVER fucking come off as pretentious. I mean, it’s not as if the rest of the social commentary in the film is markedly subtle. We didn’t need the lecture. We just wanted to see Stone Cold bust some heads. Look, this thing is derivative as all hell. I mean, already guys are lining up to try to compare it to Battle Royale while ignoring the fact that Battle Royale stole from a dozen different films before it. It just did it with kids instead of adults. No disrespect to Battle Royale, it’s a cool fucking film, but comparing it to this is kind of like being the guy who thinks he’s a trivia wizard because he can name the first video that ever played on MTV. Newsflash. Everyone knows that fucking answer. Of course this is like Battle Royale. And The Running Man. And Series 7. And Mean Guns. And Hard Target. And Surviving The Game. All the way back to The Most Dangerous Game, which in and of itself was an adaptation. It’s an old story – but this is a good take on it. Anyone who enjoys action films is gonna have fun with this. You’ll laugh at intentional moments and unintentional moments alike. And overall you’ll have a good, popcorn chomping time. But the guys who are looking forward to this? The folks who watched the trailer and had ZERO fucking apprehension about this? The guys who are going to wear their AUSTIN 3:16 shirts to the theatre Friday morning? This is their Citizen fucking Kane. These guys are gonna lose their minds at how awesome this is. It’s gonna play on TNT for like, a million, zillion years. This is the WWE’s first real solid effort – and I hope to god they use this as a model for rest of their films. Because frankly, I’d like to see some more fun B-movies like this. In a theatre. Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em. Massawyrm
Steve Austin, a man barely alive. We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better, stronger, faster. We have the capability to make the world’s first bionic redneck. Oh, who the fuck are we kidding? He’s just gonna leave his bionic leg up on blocks in front of his double wide.

Readers Talkback
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  • April 25, 2007, 7:48 a.m. CST


    by iamjacksleftball

    Paul Wight was in there!

  • April 25, 2007, 7:51 a.m. CST


    by Err

    Stone Cold = Arnold

  • April 25, 2007, 7:52 a.m. CST


    by Shermdawg

    And thus, another AICN catcphrase is born.<br><br>*logs out*

  • April 25, 2007, 7:55 a.m. CST

    Stone Cold & Vinnie Jones? How can this go wrong?

    by Otter

    This is a case of beer and a bottle of Jagermeister kind of movie.

  • April 25, 2007, 7:58 a.m. CST


    by Err

    JR should be the play by play guy for the film.

  • April 25, 2007, 7:58 a.m. CST

    that sounds like an awesome premise!

    by Spandau Belly

    I'm totally seeing this.

  • April 25, 2007, 8:06 a.m. CST

    Im Suprised they dont have a silver necklass

    by Chiziola79

    And are Japanese, Jesus is such a rip of Battle Royal it is unbelievable cant anyone write anything original anymore

  • April 25, 2007, 8:11 a.m. CST

    A nice sister piece to his The Holiday review

    by IndustryKiller!

    I especially love how one must be on his or her "high horse" to think this looks ridiculous.

  • April 25, 2007, 8:20 a.m. CST

    Wrestling killed the action star.

    by Some Dude

    I have to say that there is a certain retarded charm to each of the WWE movies thus far. At least the trailers, since I haven't seen any of these movies yet. The DVD of "See No Evil" is very tempting.

  • April 25, 2007, 8:35 a.m. CST

    What to call this genre: GRAPPLERPLOITATION ?

    by Pound Sand

    And is it the new Grindhouse?

  • April 25, 2007, 8:36 a.m. CST

    Anybody remember "No Escape"?

    by Zeke25:17

    Starred Ray Liotta, Stuart Wilson as the bad guy and Michael Lerner as the The Man Pullling the Strings? No? Well, what the hell: it didn't have any wrestlers in it. Movie was pretty damn good, though; though Surviving the Game (Ice-T, Johnnie C. McGinley and Charles Dutton in a rare bad guy role) remains my favorite.

  • April 25, 2007, 8:40 a.m. CST


    by Pound Sand

    Seriously, the guy could drink legendary quantities at a sitting.

  • April 25, 2007, 9:03 a.m. CST

    Massawym Is Gay Cuz Stone Cold Said So

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    Don't forget Professor Toru Tanaka. Okay, granted he never had a speaking line other than "grrrrrrrr," but you can't have a cheesy martial arts action movie without this guy in it as the "literally" heavy. Okay, Bolo Yeung is an acceptable substitute.

  • April 25, 2007, 9:08 a.m. CST

    Yeah - Battle Royale TOTALLY invented sploding collars!

    by JackRabbitSlim

    Oh wait - no - it fucking didnt. Seriously folks - do yourself a favor - watch more movies.

  • April 25, 2007, 9:08 a.m. CST

    Speaking of Running Man

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    Loved the Prof as Sub Zero.

  • April 25, 2007, 9:13 a.m. CST


    by Some Dude

    What is that movie that is kind of like "Fortress" but has the exploding collars instead of the Intestinator? I think it may have had "zone" in he title. Rutger Hauer might be in it. Been driving me crazy for a while.

  • April 25, 2007, 9:15 a.m. CST

    Some Dude

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    Deadlock (ed?). Mimi Rogers was also in it. Never seen it. But also don't forget Running Man had the same nasty collars.

  • April 25, 2007, 9:16 a.m. CST

    There were sploding collars in "Reap the Wild Wind"!!!

    by JackRabbitSlim

    I totally lied, but Cecil B Demille's epicy melodramasoapser features giant octopi in suspiciously clear water ten leagues deep off the Florida Keys. And actors walking around in anachronistically modern machine-powered airsuits underwater in 1840. And John Wayne as a bad guy - for the most part. And a black actress refering to other blacks as "darkies". Forget what i said about more movies. Stick to the present.

  • April 25, 2007, 9:18 a.m. CST

    I've watched wrestling my entire life...

    by UMAGA

    And this isn't my Citizen fucking Kane. I don't even understand how people can complain about wrestling anymore. Is there anything on TV that isn't low brow entertainment? Fuck, people watch wrestling all over the world.

  • April 25, 2007, 9:22 a.m. CST


    by Some Dude

    Thanks. No forgetting "Running Man" here. Just looking for a specific image that I knew was in a future prison movie. But I think you are right about "Deadlock."

  • April 25, 2007, 9:29 a.m. CST

    Some Dude

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    I remember the premise is that there are no bars, or line to cross. All prisoners are just linked to another and must stay X number of feet within each other's space or boom. No one know who they're linked to, but somehow Rogers and Rutger find out they're linked, and run off.

  • April 25, 2007, 9:35 a.m. CST

    Papillon, No Escape, Face/Off, Running Man

    by Spandau Belly

    Movies about gimmick prisons rock!

  • April 25, 2007, 9:49 a.m. CST

    Your Forgot Rock as in The Rock (island not actor)

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    Shawshank Redemption, even clint's Escape from Alcatraz. Dudes, you just can't go wrong with a prison movie. Or at least have to try real hard to screw it up. Was Stallone's Lock Up any good?

  • April 25, 2007, 10:12 a.m. CST

    No Escape .... good call! Papillon, even better, though

    by kinghenryVIII

    the book spent WAAAAAY too much time discussing how they hid money and what not up their asses. WAAAAAY too much time. But the movie rocked.

  • April 25, 2007, 10:12 a.m. CST

    The WWE’s first real solid effort

    by godoffireinhell

    was THE MARINE. If this is just as good or even better then I'll enjoy it.

  • April 25, 2007, 10:13 a.m. CST

    Also, how 'bout Cast Away? Wilson was the cruel warden.

    by kinghenryVIII

    5 years - solitary. Take the husk off the nut before fuckin' Tommy Boy!

  • April 25, 2007, 10:16 a.m. CST

    Lock Up was pretty good

    by Spandau Belly

    There was no gimmick to the prison. Stallone was innocent and you've got Donald Sutherland as the corrupt sadistic warden, so you can't go wrong with that set up.<br><br>I actually can't believe that the prison portion of Face/Off was just part of the bigger story. I mean, a secret prison on an abondonned oil rig for the world's worst criminals where they are all forced to wear magnetic boots? That could be a movie in itself, but they worked it into even greater John Woo face-swapping gun-fu madness! Jolly good show!

  • April 25, 2007, 10:18 a.m. CST

    The Marine was not a solid effort.

    by Err

    Not by any stretch of the imagination.

  • April 25, 2007, 10:25 a.m. CST


    by Kloipy

    Usually I like your reviews. But, i'm really offended by your choice of picture you use to represent yourself. I'm not a prude or anything but I think it's pretty damn distasteful. If you think it's so funny, you should do one with yourself as Muhhomad or Buddha or something. Don't just target Christ as your example of mockery. Even if you don't believe he was the Son of God, he was a great man, and doesn't deserved to be ridiculed 2000 years after his death by a movie critic. Just consider it, man.

  • April 25, 2007, 10:40 a.m. CST

    Arrive. Raise Hell. Leave

    by Brody77

    Sorry, but SCSA's new T shirt would be a perfect tagline for this flick! Dying to see it! Oh, it might help to refer to Paul Wight as The Big Show, not the Giant. He's better known for that. Or for having Vince McMahon's head shoved up his ass by DX. Either way. Bet Stone Cold doesn't deliver any stunners in this, I imagine it would look stupid and/or hurt his ass in a real life scrap! (unlike The Rock Bottom, which looked great in The Rundown!)

  • April 25, 2007, 10:56 a.m. CST

    That guy said The Marine was a solid effort

    by mrtwig48

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!! Like somebody else posted me more movies.

  • April 25, 2007, 11:04 a.m. CST

    Maybe if the effort

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    was for a bowel movement.

  • April 25, 2007, 11:33 a.m. CST

    Gawd, I hope this is better than the Marine.

    by Ironmuskrat

    The mere mention of the Marine in this talkback makes me want to not see The Condemned. Yes, it was that bad.

  • April 25, 2007, 11:35 a.m. CST

    What was that Stuart Gordon flick

    by skimn

    with Chris Lambert...Fortress maybe..? This looks to be a 12-packer of Old Milwaukee to get through.

  • April 25, 2007, 11:38 a.m. CST

    I'm still waiting for Vince's cameo

    by Poisonouskid

    You know it's coming.

  • April 25, 2007, 11:52 a.m. CST

    Breastformers: Lactate in you eyes

    by Kloipy


  • April 25, 2007, 12:29 p.m. CST

    Super Suplex Doink the clown off the waterfall!!

    by wowsah156

    Jim Ross is saying: My god he's killed the water!! Killed the water!!!! Killed the Water!!!

  • April 25, 2007, 12:29 p.m. CST

    See you at the party Killian!

    by Stuntcock Mike

    "Now, Plain Zero"

  • April 25, 2007, 12:33 p.m. CST


    by Lando Griffin

    Since noone has said it yet

  • April 25, 2007, 12:35 p.m. CST

    Review would've been more entertaining

    by Lando Griffin

    if after avery sentence we all shouted a collective "WHAT!"

  • April 25, 2007, 12:42 p.m. CST

    I watched The Marine, it's really awful.

    by Barry Egan

    The explosions look great and Robert Patrick is fun to watch. I also watched wrestling as a kid and will tune in for a while on Moday nights from time to time. I have never understood the snooty attitude people have toward wrestling when American Idol is just as stupid. That said, if Vince McMahon wants to branch off into making genre movies, there is no reason that he has to cast his wrestlers in the lead roles. In fact it might help their credibility if he didn't. That said, wresters are performers and there is no reason why some of them don't have the charisma and screen presence to anchor a film.

  • April 25, 2007, 12:43 p.m. CST

    JR must be on the DVD commentaries.

    by BillyPilgrim

    We need at least one, "Stone Cold stomped a new mud hole and walked it dry!"

  • April 25, 2007, 12:54 p.m. CST

    No one liked Escape from New York?

    by UMAGA

    Featuring pro-wrestler Ox Baker.<br>

  • April 25, 2007, 1:09 p.m. CST

    When I saw the commercial

    by CVB784

    When I saw the commercial for the movie I thought "Is that Stone Cold? Oh God this looks like crap." Then I realized this is the kind of movie, that when I'm watching Blood Sport, I wonder "why don't they make stupid action flicks like this anymore?" I may actually see this in theatres.

  • April 25, 2007, 1:21 p.m. CST

    They're going to remake "The Greatest Show on Earth"

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    with Stone Cold as the Ringmaster. Cameos by Doink the Clown, Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat doing his fire breathing act. Leaping Lanny Poffo can be the guys that falls and mangles his arm.

  • April 25, 2007, 1:29 p.m. CST

    Escape from New York is great

    by Spandau Belly

    I realize it is technically a prison movie in that Manhattan is a prison in the film, but I relate it more to Mad Max and other movies about post-apocalytpic maniacs than I do to other prison films like Papillon, The Longest Yard, No Escape etc.

  • April 25, 2007, 1:41 p.m. CST

    Paul Wight in Jingle All the Way?

    by Alkeoholic77

    Come on now, I think his role as Captain Insane-o in the Water Boy was a redemption for that. Also another great wrestler in movies, what about Kevin Nash? He was the German in the Punisher and even better was Super Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2!!!

  • April 25, 2007, 1:48 p.m. CST

    Rowdy Roddy Piper shoulda been in Grindhouse

    by LHombreSiniestro

    That's all it needed...

  • April 25, 2007, 2:56 p.m. CST


    by Quintus_Arrius

    Stone Cold is cool. This sounds cool. Just mindless fun.

  • April 25, 2007, 3 p.m. CST

    Man, the fact that you listed "The Running Man"...

    by Childe Roland

    ...among films you consider good or enjoyable really has me worried about you, Massa.<p>Let alone for a moment that movie's complete failure to be 1/1000th as cool as the book it's supposedly based on, it's cheese sans cracker. One of Arnie's worst (and there are quite a few in that heat).

  • April 25, 2007, 3:02 p.m. CST

    I think Real World/Road Rules Challenge...

    by Garbageman33

    Should outfit its contestants with exploding collars. I'd totally watch that show if there was a chance Abe was gonna blow up

  • April 25, 2007, 3:47 p.m. CST

    Don't forget the Guard Team for the Longest Yard

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    Was made up entirely of retired football players and wrestlers including Nash, Stone Cold, and The Boz. Speaking of "Stone Cold" which was very underrated.

  • April 25, 2007, 3:51 p.m. CST

    MEAN GUNS is underrated fun.

    by DarthCorleone

    Seriously, it's glorious camp galore and so watchable. I'm still waiting for a DVD that's not fullscreen.

  • April 25, 2007, 3:56 p.m. CST

    Darth Corleone

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    I just checked that out on IMDB. Ice T and the Highlander, I'm there. You've made me an offer I can't refuse. I've searched my feelings and I know it to be true.

  • April 25, 2007, 4:34 p.m. CST


    by Spandau Belly

    Erica Gavin got Oscar robbed twice, once for Russ Meyer's Vixen and then again for Caged Heat.

  • April 25, 2007, 5:21 p.m. CST

    Not to mention...

    by BitterMan23

    two women do get attempted to get raped.

  • April 26, 2007, 9:18 p.m. CST

    THE MARINE was indeed a great movie

    by where_are_quints_hobbit_set_reports

    I don't understand how any action flick fan can complain about it. Seriously, besides saying "I don't like John Cena," what possible objection could anyone have? It was fun, exciting, and Robert Patrick outdid himself. 

  • May 16, 2007, 7:58 a.m. CST


    by Quintus_Arrius