“The Condemned” is an action film starring a WWE wrestler and coming dangerously close to just being a non-futuristic version of “Running Man.” So, is it condemned to being tossed aside and ignored as viable entertainment?
The movie is directed by Scott Wiper and stars wrestler “Stone Cold” Steve Austin in the lead role, with British bad man Vinnie Jones as the most recognizable support and villain. The plot centers around a millionaire producer and is show created for the internet involving 10 death row convicts released and pitted against each other in a fight to the death for freedom.
Steve Austin and Vinnie Jones both play their parts perfectly, and overall I’m not going to say anything ill about the acting. Austin is the protagonist here and works the strong hero of few words persona perfectly in getting you to root for him. Jones of course is as nasty as ever.
The story for the film sounds exactly like the games I would play with my knock-off brand GI Joe toys as a kid and therefore sort of drew my attention, even if it was simple and silly. A basic tournament fight to the death, however, doesn’t fly in this politically correct world and the movie is one hell of a preachy piece of overdone propaganda. We’ve seen this before, we’ve heard this before, the storytellers are not opening our eyes to anything except some very bad directing. The action in the film is reduced to a lot of shaky camera work and close ups. I assume that the choreography was done very slowly and the crappy camera work is meant to make up for that. Even the smallest action is zoomed in on and you get to see an elbow, or the back of a head, instead of something exciting. It is all done so shaky that it really almost gave me motion sickness. So, even though Austin talks and is scanned from top to bottom in slow motion several times like a bad ass, the action doesn’t emphasize the fact well enough. This isn’t a Jet Li film for sure.
Does this film have any redeeming qualities to make it worth your rental money? One of the final showdowns between Jones and Austin is almost cool, but overall it is outweighed by moments of rubbing our faces in morals and awkward situations of violence. In the end I say: this movie is dumb, too much of a rip off of better material, too hard to watch the shaky action sequences, and too bad I even wasted my time seeing it to waste your time reading this.