The Running Man, Battle Royale, The Condemned – Spoiler Free

Well… Not really. I’ll probably have spoilers, but seriously, do you care? No, neither do I. Look, I love me some brainless violence. I really do. Shoot, you’re talking to the person who paid to see Mortal Kombat in the theater, three times! (I even bought both the regular soundtrack and the crappy re-mix CD). I understand the appeal to over-the-top stuff needs kill’n type movie. I really do. However, just as there is a very subtle line between genuine slasher flick and self-important gore-hackery, so it goes with over the top violence. See the two crossed out titles above.

The Condemned should have learned some lessons from those who came before…


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Taking a little bit from The Most Dangerous Game, a slice of The Running Man, a dabble from Mad Max Beyond the Thunderdome, and then mix in a big bowl of pro wrestling and you’ve got… The Condemned! Here is the basic premise: Drop 10 Death Row inmates onto an island and give them 30 hours to kill the crap out of each other, Master Blaster style… The last man (or woman) standing earns their freedom and some phat cash. Oh, and like The Running Man, any convict who doesn’t want to get down with the killing will find himself assploded! (Take that, pacifists… Fight or die)!

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The biggest problem with the film isn’t what you would expect, yes, the acting is terrible but that isn’t why you watch these movies. No, the biggest problem with the film is the director’s desire to inject social commentary. We all know if things continue as they are, reality television will indeed shift to live gladiator contests… For $49.95. During the Superbowl… I can all but guarantee that no one will watch this film hoping to learn insights into the human condition and how we need to evolve if we are going to survive. That’s all well and good, but I’m watching a flick starring a pro wrestler, I could give two-rips for the film’s message. Just give me people beating the crap out of each other… Preferably in stereotypical fighting styles!

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That is something good about the film. The fights look damn good! It had better, considering the WWE Films produced The Condemned. The fights push the edge of what you would buy as humanly possible. While some CGI was probably used in key shots, most of the jumps, kicks, head-butts, and punches didn’t come from a computer. Just sucks that the director decided to film every fight scene as a close-up… or the painfully overused “cinema verte” style… That works occasionally, but when every punch is made even more chaotic by a shaky camera… Well, that just makes me want my money back.

If you want a no holds barred fight movie, The Condemned isn’t going to do it for you… If you want an example of a director trying way too hard, then The Condemned nails it!

The best I can give The Condemned is 2 out of 5 Critical Hits.

About Aaron

Aaron Duran is founder and head writer of GeekintheCity.com, a website devoted to the latest in movies, comics, tabletop games, digital pastimes, and all things Geek. His fascination with comics, film, music, and obscure trivia has transformed into a lifelong pursuit of pop culture knowledge. A precocious writer who started out by spinning elaborate stories based on his favorite sci-fi and adventure franchises, he befuddled his grade-school teachers, who were convinced that no child could write that well at such a young age. When not hard at work on his plans for world domination, Aaron creates highly acclaimed independent films, freelances in many forms of media, explores the minutiae of pop culture, and shares his love of all things Geek with the world through his writing.
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