Review for The Condemned 2
The Condemned 2 stars WWE Superstar Randy Orton as a former bounty hunter Will Tanner who ends up a part of the new and improved Condemned tournament. In this tournament, Tanner is the target and he is being hunted in a contest which is broadcast and bet on by the public.
The 2007 original starred WWE Superstar Stone Cold Steve Austin and was considered by most critics (myself included) as a huge disappointment and obvious ripoff of Japanese film Battle Royale and was a financial disaster. It is not surprising that it took nearly ten years to make another, but it is surprising that they bothered at all.
One of my biggest issues with this film is that it feels like a film that was written as something else, had a few tweaks to connect it to the first film and then just had The Condemned 2 slapped on it.
Of course that's not the worst thing. The acting in this film is atrocious. I mean I have seen some awful WWE Superstars acting, but this is the worst I have ever seen. Randy Orton is so wooden and slow that it feels like he has no idea what he is doing. This is sad considering his smaller role in That's What I Am was pretty good. Maybe it is just that he can't handle a starring role, but he certainly won't be winning any awards for this.
The supporting cast are so hammy that at times I wasn't sure whether this was supposed to be funny or not. Steven Quezada, who was so good in Breaking Bad, is almost campy as the main villain again it is funny. As for Eric Roberts? It is sad when this is a step down from his performance in The Human Centipede 3. At least in that film he looked like he was enjoying himself. Here he just looks bored and waiting for the cheque to clear so he can get out.
Director Roel Reine and Writer Alan B. McElroy have been guns for hire for WWE Studios for a while with them being involved in multiple projects over the years including the likes of The Marine series and 12 Rounds 2 (featuring Randy Orton too). Both are good at the B-Movie style action that would have been perfect in the 1980s/90s video market, but in this time it just feels a little dated.
I found with this film it was just boring. It felt like it was action scene, exposition, action scene and so on. Every action cliché in the book is used from the slow motion shooting scene to the bar fight using a pool table. Guns have unlimited bullets and explosions are plentiful. This is usually (in the right hands) the formula for an amazing action film. Instead this film fell short, way short.
There are two extra features about the use of Dromes and a short featurette with interviews with the cast. Thankfully I did not have to sit through a commentary with Orton talking about the work and effort he put into this role. Now that would be something to condemn.
The Condemned 2 is your typical 'diminishing returns' sequel. Orton does not have the star power of a Steve Austin. The fact that they would want to make a sequel to such a bad film in the first place makes me question to people in charge at WWE Studios. Some of their superstars have what it takes to make it as a star The Rock being the best example. However, they need to realise that convincing us that they want to kick someone's ass on a Monday Night is not the same as convincing us that they are in peril or that they can act. This film certainly proves that.