I’m a big fan of the humble wrestler trying their hand at acting in a feature-length movie, after all, aside from the athletic ability they possess a large portion of what they do is acting. This time it’s Randy Orton in The Condemned 2, off the back of his role in 12 Rounds 2: Reloaded (A franchise that has also seen John Cena & Dean Ambrose take centre stage), and his surge in popularity as his skyrocketed to the top of the viral food chain with his “RKO Outta Nowhere” videos.
He stars as Will Tanner, a confident and moody looking bounty hunter in a sequel that holds no real connection to the first Condemned film, which incidentally starred WWE Hall of Famer “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. Orton takes a bunch of guys out to the desert to capture but not kill a guy who is killing other guys for loads of guys’ entertainment, unfortunately the bad guy dies and Orton is now destined to live with Eric Roberts (his dad) for the foreseeable future. Woopee.
Hanks right hand man from Breaking Bad (Steven Michael Quezada) now seeks vengeance on Orton, in a series of repetitive, fighty sequences littered with unnecessary explosions, culminating in so many that they should act as a metaphor for the current Monday Night Raw ratings. Nobody really does much of anything else in this film, where corny dialogue merely acts as the connection for the multiple deaths, but in exchanging the insane Battle-Royale rip-off of the first one with this less than exciting adaptation, it failed to meet the heights of nonsense I know and love from these kinds of films.
Orton looked comfortable on-screen, and clearly has a future in the brash, stern-faced killer roles that WWE Studios will feed to him over time. However, everyone else looked like they were confused as to why they were there. The concept was tired and poorly executed, the fighting seemed tame and it went for realistic and low-key for the most part, when it should have gone to all out mayhem like the first.
There’s a reason why these sole-survivor on an island do so well, but it’s not usually down to the concept itself, but more attribute to what takes place to get to that last person. What weapons are used, what actions do people take and why are they put in that situation in the first place? With the other films of this nature the answers were chainsaws, knives and flamethrowers, people were killed, blew up, ran over and dismembered and the reason they were there was often made horribly obvious so you hated them, or unnervingly mysterious.
With The Condemned 2, the answers are drones, bombs, guns, bombs, guns, fights and because they tried to take down a bad guy. Goof effort, just not good enough.