From Jean-Claude Van Damme to Rob Van Dam, the Professional Wrestlers series takes a sideways step in to further mindless action. The problem, however, is that The Wrong Side of Town, directed by Roger Ebert’s chum and ex pro wrestler David DeFalco, is distinctly lacking in action.
RVD stars as Bobby, a retired Navy Seal who accidentally kills the brother of a notorious local gangster, Seth (Jerry Katz), and when Seth finds out he is angry. Very angry, shout every line angry. $100,000 dollars is the price for Bobby’s capture, the bounty alerts a raft of gangsters and thugs and Bobby must fight his way across the city to reconnect with his family.
At this point the film feels like it is trying to evoke the spirit of The Warriors but it is a fleeting thought. The first half of the film moves at glacial pace. Action is sparse until around the 45 minute mark, more than half way through. Van Dam proves competent at martial arts action but the editing is too choppy, too poorly sequenced to allow any flow to the fight scenes. It’s not until the enormous Dave ‘Batista’ Bautista arrives, playing Van Dam’s military buddy B.R, that the film shows any signs of life.
The action increases a small amount but is not visceral or convincing enough to support the flimsy script or acting that swims around it. By the film’s end the story has meandered to a halt. Lacking any dramatic tension The Wrong Side of Town is a by numbers, straight to DVD action movie that is quickly forgotten after watching.
A double whammy of muscular, ex-spandexed actors this week. Batista takes top billing on all the promotional material I could find for The Wrong Side of Town and although he plays a bit part role to Rob Van Dam’s central character it is easy to see why. Batista is far from an electrifying screen presence but within the confines of this film he clearly outshines Van Dam. RVD performs well but his acting, much like his namesake, is what ultimately lets him down. Both men are hampered by what is really a poorly made film but manage to muddle through with barely a wrestling referencing move in sight.
Director : David DeFalco
Main Cast : Rob Van Dam, Dave Bautista, Ja Rule, Jerry Katz.
Certificate : 15
Run Time : 88 mins