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Category:    Home > Reviews > Action > Exploitation > The Condemned (Blu-ray + DVD-Video)

The Condemned (Blu-ray + DVD-Video)


Picture: B/C+     Sound: B/B-     Extras: D     Film: D



Wrestling and cinema are like oil and water, but beyond the fact that they don’t mix, they make a mess beyond belief that keeps repeating itself, more than ever.  Maybe in the old days, you could have a bodybuilder (say Steve Reeves) become big star, but wresting is so much its own hard impact sport entertainment that having its stars suddenly surface in films (even when they play monsters or henchman that do not talk) never works.  Not that it could not, but Scott Wiper’s awful The Condemned (2007) is an example of why it usually does not.


The popular Stone Cold Steve Austin is on death row (a “shock” since he/his character seem like a “nice guy”) who is sold to a greedy TV producer for a “reality TV” show where the contestants hunt and kill each other.  Since they are criminals, they are disposable (!?!?!) and as sent on the Internet, all viewers will be at more than a safe distance form the mayhem they can pay to watch, but are not responsible for.  Of course, the U.S. Government does not care, implying encouragement of the killing.


The film could have made this some kind of metaphor, but it does not even begin to try, as this is about tough people punching and kicking other tough people as they hunt each other.  This is The Most Dangerous Games for morons and though Austin, Vinnie Jones and the cast try to make it more, the script (co-written by Wiper) is too heartless and soulless to overcome.  In addition, the fighting is often lame, plot beyond predictable and when all is said and done, all is quickly forgotten except that you just wasted 113 minutes of your life on a bomb.



The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image seems to have been shot in HD and it does not look good, with tired darkened stylizing that is supposed to make us take it more seriously, when it makes us bored.  Director of Photography Ross Embry, A.C.S., delivers nothing new and between the shaky camerawork, bad zooms and other tired choices, the sloppy editing deep-sixes anything that could have worked here.  Color is bad, detail is an issue and Video Black and problem, much worse on the anamorphically enhanced DVD.  The 7.1 DTS HD mix exclusive to the Blu-ray is nothing great, showing the flaws of a substandard mix with too many loud points and too little character, but still surpasses the Dolby Digital 5.1 EX offered in both formats, which is also lamer than a new sound mix should be.  Graeme Revell’s score cannot save this mess either.  Extras include a five-part making of featurette, Capital Carnage Reunion (the first meeting of Austin and Jones in 1998) two feature length audio commentaries (Austin and Wiper, plus Wiper on his own), Stone Cold at Movie World exclusive footage, storyboard sequences and the original theatrical trailer.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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