In my review for The Marine 3 I mentioned that The Miz was one of two wrestlers I expected to be okay actors. The other wrestler I had in mind was WWE Superstar The Big Show. Standing at 7'0 and 440 lbs he has the unique look that works not only wrestling but films as well in films like The Waterboy, Jingle All The Way and now in today's edition of Wrestling Is Reel, Vendetta.
Debuting in 1995 as The Giant he has been pushed as a megastar thanks to his one of a kind look. Despite this whether it was in WCW or the decade plus in WWE nobody seems to have really used him as much as they could. A shame because he has shown himself to be a pretty versatile performer. Whether he is a babyface or a heel, a serious competitor or a comedic entertainer Big Show has been pretty good in every role. Nearly 20 years since he was first appeared as the giant Santa in Jingle All The Way we will see if he can use what he has learned since as the villain in 2015's Vendetta.
Wrestler- The Big Show
Wrestling Moves Used- 2
Real Stars- Dean Cain
Life for hero cop Mason Danvers (Dean Cain) goes upside down when criminal Victor Abbott (Big Show) murders his wife. Mason deliberately gets arrested to extract revenge. In prison he quickly learns of a dangerous criminal empire behind the walls.
From the sounds of the plot summary this seems like a pretty standard prison movie which, well, it is. Justin Shady's script is the definition of basic. Thankfully it is elevated by the Soska Sisters. Their follow up to See No Evil 2 the duo do surprisingly well in their first action film. Each action scenes is well staged with some decent fight choreography. It is especially impressive since they had to tackle a bigger riot scene with tons going on. They also avoid the frenetic, quick cut style letting us see everything.
Most notable is the duo letting their horror sensibilities be front and center by never shying away from the gore. It seems that whatever restraint they had on See No Evil 2 is gone since each fight is more brutal than the last. In fact it is one of the more violent action movies in quite some time with some absolutely brutal kills. Is this a cover for a weak story? Perhaps. But when it is this entertaining it is hard to complain.
Now for a movie like this you need a good lead. Someone who can get the most out of the material. Who we get is former Superman Dean Cain. To his credit I don't think he was bad. In fact I was surprised by how well he did in such an action heavy role. By the time he's in the prison he makes an okay protagonist. I just think he was a bit too one note. Just a lot of punching, grimacing and leaning against walls. Nothing wrong with that just not the most compelling of roles.
Thankfully the same can't be said of Big Show. Admittedly his role is just as one note as the villainous Victor Abbott. The difference is how much more appropriate he is in the role. Abbott needs to be a brutal monster and Big Show has mastered that for the past 20 years in the ring. Seeing him fighting off a mob of prison guards just makes sense. If I had to make a complaint, and it really isn't much of one, it is how odd it is to see Big Show in the real world. Things like him sitting in seats for normal people is oddly distracting. It's nobody's fault really it just takes you out of the movie sometimes.
As good as Big Show is the real star of the film is Michael Eklund. A regular for WWE Studios (he has been in The Marine 3 and See No Evil 2) he puts in the perfect slimy evil warden performance. A bit evil Southern gentleman he has this weird inflection and makes odd word choices when speaking. The whole thing makes for one of the more amusing performances. Eklund steals every scene he is in and is definitely an unsung hero for WWE Studios.
I was oddly excited to watch Vendetta going into this. On the surface it has all the makings for a fun B-movie and it delivered. What it lacks in originality it makes up in enjoyable performances and style. Is it high art? Hardly. But Vendetta is a fun ride and hopefully we see more action fare from the Soskas soon.
That's all for Wrestling Is Reel this month. Next month we will be looking at Countdown which is an action movie that takes place at a WWE event starring Dolph Ziggler and Kane.