There's bad movies, and then there's WWE Films.
Ok, I take that back: "The Rundown" was pretty fun. This one is no Rundown though. It's mearly a poor man's "Battle Royale" with a tacked on moral message.
The plot: A new reality show exclusive to the internet has been created by a bigshot Hollywood producer (Robert Mammone). The show puts 10 people on death row on an island, and gives them 30 hours to live. Among the contestants: Jack Conrad (Steve Austin, who does an good job), whose like, got a family you know; and McStarley (Vinnie Jones, who steals the show), who's the sick villain you love to hate. Oh, and there's some message about how violence is wrong. That's right, WWE is telling you that violence is wrong.
What could have been a decent action movie is ruined by some poor performances, stereotypes, overly realistic violence (World Wrestling Entertainment is making a STATEMENT!), a generic soundtrack (come on, Nickleback? Though Grame Revell's score is competant), preachiness, and more. While Austin, Jones, and Masa Yamaguchi do commendable jobs, the rest of the cast is a poorly written blend of dumb kids weened on violent video games (World Wrestling Entertainment is making a STATEMENT!), a sterotypical greedy Hollywood bigshot, the concerned female, the worried wife, and thugs and rapists. Character actor Rick Hoffman (he of "Hostel" and "Cellular" fame) has a performance that could have been better if the screenplay by Rob & Andrew Hedden, who are writers for WWE, knew how to write interesting characters.
Speaking of WWE, the movie is yet another example of how WWE Films essentially fails to deliver on the dumb but fun kind of spectacle you would want. A movie like "See No Evil" could have been a decent throwback to the Slasher flicks of old, but instead was just "Saw" lite. "The Marine" could have been a decent afternoon action flick, but failed even at a rudimentary level. Here, "The Condemned" also could have been a fun action flick, but is bogged down by a preachy message, which reaches MST3K movie levels of ineptitude when the reporter asks the audience "Are we the condemned?" In short, while they are laughably bad, WWE Films so far has yet to create an enjoyable B-Movie.
But hey, who needs that when World Wrestling Entertainment is making a STATEMENT! Too bad for them that Paul Verhoven, George Romero, and even Eli Roth have too, and to much better success.
Rating: 3 out of 10.