It’s entirely possible to be put off from the word go by the thought that this is a film from that august bunch of filmmakers, the WWE. Or alternatively, delighted by that fact. Whatever the reaction, this is a 2007 film from director Scott Wiper which does it’s best to highlight the main product of the WWE empire, sweaty people fighting each other.
The story is set on an island, covered in cameras, Big Brother gone mad and used purely for the purposes of entertainment. In this way it is actually a clever satire on the WWE itself, and has a few observations to make on the public’s demand for gladiatorial combat, even to this day. The island is filled with convicts who are going to be executed and so here they have a chance to fight for survival, while the producers reap the financial rewards of their tribulations. It’s an effective basis for a script and one that is used well throughout as a plot device, whenever there hasn’t been an action scene for all of five minutes or so, the producers can step in and manipulate events to stir up a hornet’s nest of trouble for the lumbering participants.
Steve Austin (wasn’t he the six Million Dollar Man?) stars as …well basically himself (or his WWE persona) and as such doesn’t do much in the way of soul searching and character development. He picks people up and slams them to the floor an awful lot, then kneels on them a bit. The fight scenes are well shot but do get a little repetitive as the same OTT moves are deployed again and again and again. The supporting cast do largely the same thing, in a variety of entertaining outfits and thoughtfully chosen close ups and it is only when Vinnie Jones (who can actually act!) turns up that things really start to kick off and develop very slightly.
You might have gathered that plot wise there isn’t very much to this movie. Well apart from a nice central premise and lots and lots of fighting, there really isn’t much else to recommend it! If you’re looking for a film that will leave you thinking or breathless with an adrenalin rush, weeping or laughing, then this really isn’t going to be it. If you’re a fan of the WWE however and their particular style of entertaining wrestleballet, then this is an absolute must see!