Available at Amazon.com
‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin Jack Conrad
Vinnie Jones Ewan McStarley
Rick Hoffman Goldman
Robert Mammone Ian Breckel
Victoria Mussett Julie
Manu Bennett Paco
Madeleine West Sarah
DVD Release Date: September 18, 2007
Running Time: 113 Minutes
Ian Breckel is as close to a billionaire as you can get. He is a master in the world of television and has so much money that he doesn’t know what to do with all of it. As with most money and power hungry people, he still isn’t satisfied. His newest idea brings forth all the things that matter most to the people of the world: live action, violence, and the World Wide Web.
Going around the world, Breckel and his team have gathered together ten of the most horrible criminals they could find. Each was on death row and due to meet their demise so Breckel figured he could at least make a bit of money off of them. The ten are released on an island for thirty hours and each has an explosive device strapped to their ankle. Their mission is to simply survive their time on the island and the last one left alive would be granted their freedom and a wad of cash.
There is a violence loving British guy. A martial artist. A down on his luck guy who was turned on by the woman he loves. There’s even a married couple that knows one of them won’t survive if the other is to win. But the big catch here is Jack Conrad. He is a strong-nosed American found in a Central American prison with a mysterious past that no-one can find out much about. Breckel right away finds out that Conrad isn’t exactly what he hoped he would be because it seems he is more focused on simply finding a way out rather then killing his opponents.
It’s rather difficult to say how The Condemned made me feel. The premise you get from the trailers is that it is going to be full of action and violence as ten people battle it out to get off the island. Seems good enough and has a feeling somewhere along the lines of 1987’s The Running Man. A little introduction to the contestants and they are set free on an island to destroy one another. Excellent. The eye in the sky, Breckel, keeps hoping more and more people get online to tune in and he cares nothing who lives or dies. Intriguing. The hidden backstory of Conrad being a special FBI agent and the woman he left behind in Texas. Fantast what?
The Condemned is meant to be an action film with no redeeming quality other then that, and it’s that shallowness that would make it enjoyable but they fail miserably at it. Throwing in a somewhat complicated FBI storyline doesn’t help the case at all because it kind of takes away from Conrad being a bad ass that cares for no-one and shows that he is a proud countryman. Bah. Then his character is made even less cool by having him be all sappy on the phone with the woman he loves. It’s as if they wanted him to be Rambo and all they got was the clichÃ©d “ex-con with a heart of gold.”
What’s even more upsetting is how disappointing some of the fight scenes are. They are the things I was looking forward to considering the film comes from a wrestling company and trust me, I’ve seen better. First of all the camera work is so shaky that everything just seems like a huge blur and you can’t even make out who is who at times. To be quite honest with you; the camera work is more nauseating then that of The Blair Witch Project. The other fight scenes aren’t even shown at all. They begin on camera, jump to a scene in the control room, and then go back as someone’s ankle bracelet blows them up. Total garbage.
The film is shown in 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format and looks really good for the most part. Scenes that are bright look really good while those at night are not totally black, but just subtly dark. It’s just the camera work which makes the film look bad so it’s kind of hard to blame that on the quality of the DVD.
The film is heard in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and is truly impressive. The soundtrack for the film is a great mix between a mood-making score and just some old-fashioned rock songs that sound fantastic in surround sound. No static and a pretty flawless transfer make for a good sounding film.
Audio Commentaries – There are two commentaries with the first featuring director Scott Wiper by himself. It’s no new surprise that I’m not fond of single-person commentaries and this one continues to prove why. Wiper virtually talks about all the actors, where scenes were shot, and the deeper meanings he had behind each scene. His voice being extremely annoying doesn’t help matters either. The second commentary features wiper and Steve Austin together. Wiper’s being an annoyance continues in his normal fashion and he also makes the commentary into a bit of an interview by constantly asking Austin questions. It’s great when Austin just goes off on tangents by himself during the film, but Wiper would have been better not being in either one.
The Making Of The Condemned – This feature is broken down into five separate parts totaling right under forty minutes. The first part simply has the cast and crew giving a little information about the film. In a nutshell, the plot is told to you through their views as clips of the film are shown. The second part deals with the fight coordination and is very good. It goes into all the fight styles included in the film and how the actors (including Austin) were trained to do them all. Next is a piece on the visual effects that isn’t too good. There aren’t many nice effects in the film except for some explosions so they focus on how cool the control room looks. Alright.
The fourth part deals with just the actors on the set and was by far the best even though it is the shortest. Austin takes the cameras through his trailer, and then the feature shows how well Vinnie Jones and Austin got along on set as well. The entire cast really looked to enjoy making the film. The final segment is director Scott Wiper finishing up and saying what he would like the audience to get from the film he made. I wouldn’t have minded it so much except that he barely shut up through all the other parts. Watch the segments entitled “Pain Club” and “Island Mischief;” avoid the other three.
Stone Cold At Movie World – Austin went to the Movie World theme park in Australia and signed some autographs for a very long line of fans waiting to meet him. A few fans give their opinions on him and that’s about it.
Capital Carnage Reunion – A flashback to the first time Austin and Jones met at a 1998 WWE Pay-Per-View entitled Capital Carnage. Hometown-boy Vinnie Jones came to the ring and got the crowd all riled up before the late Big Boss Man made his way down to challenge him. Jones showed up again later that night to help Austin out in the ring. The whole time Austin and Jones are watching and laughing about it making for a short, fun feature.
Storyboard Sequences – Six minutes at the beginning of the film is shown with a real-time screen and the storyboards that go with them.
Trailers – See No Evil, Replicant, Universal Soldier: Special Edition, The Punisher: Extended Cut, and WAR
The Inside Pulse
The WWE’s third venture in films is no their worst, but it also isn’t their best. The Condemned has a lot of potential for what it truly could have been, but it is all taken away when they tried to add too much to what should have been a no nonsense action film. It isn’t bad through the first viewing, but it won’t be something to pop in on those boring days either. The special features seem like a lot yet are incredibly lacking except for the “making of” featurette. If it weren’t for that then all the others (not including the commentaries) would total maybe ten minutes. I enjoyed Austin’s first go-round in film and it was truly helped by Vinnie Jones and Rick Hoffman who are always enjoyable. It’s just a shame that they weren’t given more to work with. The film simply ends up being nothing more then a rental, if that. And that’s the bottom line ‘cuz Stone Cold said so!
|The DVD Lounge’s Ratings for The Condemned
||RATING(OUT OF 10)
||5(NOT AN AVERAGE)|