Technical disaster struck for the first time as my viewing of Legendary broke down at around the 10 minute mark. After multiple brave attempts to restart and reaching the same frozen screen outcome I decided to call it a day. Early impressions were not great, Legendary appears to be WWE Studios attempt at “dramatic cinema”, a boy begins wrestling to beat the bullies amidst a back drop of family tragedy and small town angst. With added John Cena.And a dash of Danny Glover. I can’t really offer much more of a review without actually watching the film so instead I’ll fill the space with my top 3 films from the Professional Wrestler series. This post also marks the end of the series. After the World Cup is over I’ll be running a new, as yet undecided, secondary series.
Number 3: Universal Soldier: The Return
The black sheep of the Universal Soldier franchise, a mess of epic proportions but has enough fun moments to overcome most of the other schlocky action films in contention. The full-scale ruckus in the strip club, instigated by JCVD’s desperate need for internet access, is as gloriously stupid as it sounds.
Number 2: Journey 2: The Mysterious Island
Not a film I would be in a hurry to recommend to anyone under ordinary circumstances but given the competition on the list it did at least stand out, most notably for the lack of reliance on combat to sell the featured wrestler. The Rock is his usual charismatic self and there are some great set pieces and special effects. If you can bear the grating ukulele scene then there is a fun, if completely vacuous film here.
Number 1: Damage
An easy choice at number one for me. Stone Cold Steve Austin in a no-nonsense, no filler romp through the underground fighting circuit. The film hints at having some sort of emotional or philosophical weight behind it; deep down, however, it knows that it should serve no greater purpose than to entertain. Bone crunching action and a deliberately limited amount of dialogue for Stone Cold means that Damage stays brief, taught and, most importantly, entertaining.