The Condemned

Director: Scott Wiper
Stars: Steve Austin, Vinnie Jones and Nathan Jones
Writer: Scott Wiper (screenplay), Rob Hedden (screenplay)
Release Date: 27 April 2007 (USA)
Our Rating: 6/10

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 Condemned

The Condemned

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.

The Condemned

The Condemned

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!

Tooth

Tooth

Tooth

There aren’t many films where you could expect to se the glorious pairing of effete wit monger Stephen Fry and arch hard man Vinnie Jones, but this falls into that tiny category. And what’s more, it’s about the tooth fairy!

The first thing to remember is that this is absolutely a kid’s movie so adults shouldn’t go into it expecting anything too highbrow. It stars Harry Enfield as Plug, a gloriously eye rolling performance of a man who is obsessed with catching fairies and unfortunately for our heroine, the tooth fairy herself named…erm..Tooth, (didn’t her parents have ANY imagination?) Plug has her firmly in his sights. Though it’s not really ever explained why! Tooth has been a little bit silly in rebelling against her previously drab life and has given away a massive amount of money to a family who live in a trailer park and are about to lose everything. Well, I say a family, she has actually given it to two kids. Tooth realises that she may well have made a big mistake and tries to get the money beck but the kids have, of course, spent it. It seems like only the rarely seen figure of Mrs Claus (That’s Santa’s wife don’t you know) can help her and keep her wonderfully deranged boss, a giant carrot munching rabbit (voiced by the always wonderful Jim Broadbent) from busting her right down. During the quest, Tooth and the two kids meet an astonishingly imaginative array of characters, from the scary Extractor (Vinnie Jones…you can guess what he does) to a pair of secret fairy godparents, played by the brain wrenching combination of Richard E Grant and Jerry Hall.

Written and directed by Edouard Nammour, making his movie debut, this is a fun filled romp which has more imagination per minute than a lot of films manage in their entire run. Its a little patchy in places and not every performance comes off but nevertheless there are a galaxy of stars on display here, all of them clearly having a whale of a time and their enthusiasm is infectious. Yasmin Paige as Tooth is incredibly endearing and watchable and the movie has a real feel good vibe about it.

Great fun!

Director: Edouard Nammour
Writers: Edouard Nammour, Piers Fletcher (additional material), and 2 more credits »
Stars: Harry Enfield, Vinnie Jones and Stephen Fry
Country: UK
Release Date: 13 February 2004 (UK)