The Condemned (2007) (R)

Suspense/Thriller 100 April 27, 2007
By Luke Y. Thompson
Can someone explain where a movie executive-produced by World Wrestling Entertainment owner Vince McMahon gets off lecturing its audience about how awful they are for enjoying violence in entertainment? Before The Condemned hops up on its high horse, we do get several cool battles involving the likes of Texas redneck Jack Conrad (Stone Cold Steve Austin), ex-SAS sadist McStarley (Vinnie Jones), crazed martial artist Saiga (Masa Yamaguchi), and a seven-foot Soviet (Nathan Jones), on a Battle Royale-style island where 10 death-row inmates are rigged with explosives and only one gets out alive. Audiences are cued to cheer for the Mortal Kombat-style fatalities, but the line is apparently crossed when McStarley and Saiga kick the crap out of a woman -- and enjoy it. If you enjoy it too, well, you're a sick puppy, says director Scott Wiper. Still: Flaws, double standards, and all, this is the most entertaining WWE release to date. When, in the second half of the film, Austin finally loses his temper and gets down to the business of revenge, Stone Cold really heats up the screen. Don't feel guilty for enjoying the violence. Just thank Vince.
Scott Wiper Steve Austin, Vinnie Jones, Robert Mammone, Victoria Mussett, Rick Hoffman, Christopher Baker, Samantha Healy, Madeline West, Luke Pegler Scott Wiper, Rob Hedden Joel Simon Lionsgate Films

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