Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Condemned (2007)

If that rumored Neal H. Moritz-produced remake of Battle Royale ever comes to pass, it will probably look a lot like this dumb flick, which, being a product of the WWE, emphasizes the violence above all else (in more ways than one, but we'll get to that). Part of the film's deficiencies can be attributed to the man they call Stone Cold: If Steve Austin had one-tenth of the natural charisma of The Rock, he might be bearable in the lead role (or in any lead role). But he's a phallus-domed, stone-faced dead zone, a placeholder with muscles. The filmmakers seems to realize this, considering what a small percentage of the running time requires him to be on-screen; director Scott Wiper tries to compensate for the gaping hole at the film's center by following other characters and introducing side plots whenever possible, leaning heavily on Vinnie Jones's laddish sadism and Madeline West's ability to look worried in thin T-shirts that showcase the spectacular nature of her breasts. Even if Austin was the second coming of Olivier, though, The Condemned would still be hamstrung by an idiotic screenplay rife with cliches, contrivances (most awesome plot hole: wouldn't the morally-offended newswoman who interviews the villainous, venal producer bankrolling this bloodsport nonsense just tell the authorities where this island was?) and characters thinner than rice paper. The cherry on the shit sundae, though, is the ridiculous third-act moralizing about how violence is Bad and Wrong and perverts the soul and some such junk, which might mean something if it wasn't coming from a company that would cease to exist if people actually listened to such imprecations. As it stands, The Condemned is no Funny Games. Hell, it isn't even Hostel: Part II, though it does have as one of its few bright spots a dryly funny performance from motormouth Rick Hoffman, last seen as the American Tourist in the first Hostel. It's just cinema at its most disposable, meant to be seen and forgotten. Nickelback plays over the closing credits, which I think says it all.

Grade: D+


Blogger James said...

I totally thought the same thing about the Nickelback at the end. That said, I disliked it less than you. It just about almost nearly had some social satire in there. And some commentary about how not to trust women, he he.

6:50 PM  

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