The Condemned (2007)

DVD Cover (Lions Gate)
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Overall Rating 58%
Overall Rating
Ranked #2,341
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Connections: The Condemned

Jack Conrad is awaiting the death penalty in a corrupt Central American prison. He is "purchased" by a wealthy television producer and taken to a desolate island where he must fight to the death against nine other condemned killers from all corners of the world, with freedom going to the sole survivor. --IMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: November 17, 2007
Thus far, I've enjoyed the movies that WWE Films has put out, so right here in the opening sentence, you can determine whether or not you're going to agree with this review based on that statement. I thought that See No Evil, starring "The Big Red Machine" Kane, was a pretty good horror flick; it certainly wasn't a classic and it wouldn't win any awards from me, but I did enjoy it for what it was. Then, John Cena got his turn as an action star in The Marine, and once again, I thought that it was an entertaining film if not a very memorable one. Now we find ourselves with The Condemned, another action flick which has the biggest star the wrestling world has ever seen (yes, even bigger than Hulk Hogan) in the leading role. This is a movie that flopped at the box office, but you know what? I enjoyed it. WWE Films is three for three with me, even if none of their releases are award winners.

We begin with an introduction to a gentleman named Breckel (Robert Mammone), a television producer who has come up with the ultimate in reality programming. His plan is to find ten of the world's most violent prisoners, drop them all off on a deserted island, strap bombs on them so that they will obey his "directorial skills", and let them play the game while he streams it to his paying viewers on the internet. The game? Everyone fights to the death, and the last man alive is set free with a pocketful of cash. Needless to say, there's no second place in this game. Steve Austin and Vinnie Jones star as two of the prisoners forced to play this game, and as one might expect, they're the stars of the film who will eventually face off with one another in the climatic showdown at the end.

Observant viewers may have noticed that this plot sounds like it borrowed heavily from The Running Man and Battle Royale, and the truth is that yes, The Condemned does owe a lot to those two films - some may even go so far as to say that this is a cheap knockoff. This is not necessarily a bad thing, mind you; after all, Return of the Living Dead was a cheap knockoff of Night of the Living Dead, and that one turned out to be one of my favorite movies of all time. While I wouldn't go so far as to say that The Condemned is one of my favorites (or even in the top thousand), I will say that it delivers exactly what one would expect from a film like this: lots of action, lots of testosterone, and of course, lots of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin.

The Condemned is a mindless action flick, pure and simple. Sure, the filmmakers attempt to send a message about reality television and the people that watch it, but make no mistake about it: the goal of those responsible for this one was to make an action flick that delivered as much explosions and fight sequences as possible, and with that in mind, it's hard to call the film a failure. When you pick up a copy of a movie like this, you know what you're getting into and you should know ahead of time whether or not you're going to like it; if you have a problem with action flicks or if you're against the idea of a wrestling company producing movies, this is not the film for you and you shouldn't be watching, renting, or criticizing it.

Now, I have praised the film thus far in this review, as I felt that it delivered exactly what was promised and I also thought that it was an entertaining affair. However, I do have to say that it wasn't all sunshine and flowers, as I wasn't a huge fan of the way that the major fight scenes were shot. You see, the cameraman apparently took more than a couple of lessons from the MTV school of filmmaking: the camera shakes around violently while the fists are flying, the edits are fast and furious, and some of these scenes have a better chance at giving the audience seasickness than anything in Open Water ever could. This only occurred during the major fight sequences and it wasn't enough to completely turn me off to the film, but I was forced to dock a few points because of it. Please, for the love of God: let this trend end soon. I can handle the remakes and I can tolerate the pointless sequels, but please, just let us see what's going on in your film, alright?

Still, The Condemned is an enjoyable film, and if the thought of watching "The Texas Rattlesnake" star in an action flick sounds like your idea of a good night, you'll probably enjoy this one as much as I did. It's far from a perfect film and it lacks any sort of artistic merit, but sometimes, we just want a mindless ninety minutes in front of the tube with lots of explosions and one-liners. The Condemned gives us that. 6/10, and I would have rated it higher had they simply invested in a tripod for the aforementioned scenes.
Luminaire #1: Luminaire - added November 22, 2007 at 4:48pm
Nice concept, better then the Running Man, but could of been a lot better. 5/10
danimigra #2: danimigra - added March 16, 2008 at 2:31pm
5/10 is ok for me too.
duck #3: duck - added April 3, 2008 at 10:09am
this is the fifth wwe film, there was also the remake of walking tall and the rundown, both starred the rock.
Chad #4: Chad - added April 4, 2008 at 3:18am
Those did indeed feature The Rock, but they weren't produced under the WWE Films banner.
Crispy #5: Crispy - added April 4, 2008 at 4:48am
According to the Wiki machine, so take the accuracy with a grain of salt, WWE Films co-produced those two, along with The Scorpion King, also featuring The Rock. Also, there seems to be another Cena movie called 12 Rounds due out in '09, which at first glance is borrowing heavily from Se7en and 24.
Tristan #6: Tristan - added September 28, 2008 at 6:42pm
What, in that it has numbers in the title?

This was probably the lamest movie concept ever, but it kept me entertained for 90 minutes.

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