Movies You Aught Not Watch: The Condemned
Movies You Aught Not Watch is Nick Rogers’ weekly, alphabetical look back at the 52 worst films of 2000-2009.
If WWE overlord Vince McMahon could extract anything good from 2007’s “The Condemned,” it was that the XFL no longer was his greatest creative failure. Taking a page from the film’s oppressive mean streak, consider a comparative suggestion that 113 minutes would be better spent gouging out your own eyeballs.
What passes for ingenuity here is that the first burly, bald guy seen in shadow is not “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. He’s one of 10 Death Row convicts dumped on an island to kill or be killed, with freedom for the last one left, while a megalomaniac producer films it for a lucrative Internet broadcast.
Austin looked like Larry the Cable Guy on steroids and — whether expressing anger, love or shock — projected the same expression of a man making the hard decision between fries or onion rings. He’s the movie’s hero, left behind by his country and forced to fight British baddie Ewan McStarley (Vinnie Jones).
A murderer with a taste for rape, Ewan also was the vessel through which “The Condemned” put the audience’s face through a mirror of morality. Like the MPAA, the technical crew behind this broadcast bristled only when violence turned sexual (no less repulsive because it was offscreen).
No film bearing a WWE Films stamp should be allowed, by law, to run longer than 85 minutes, attempt any sort of pot-kettle-black social scolding or be seen by anyone other than the Bushwhackers. That stinky tag-team no longer wrestles for McMahon, but this movie emits its own special odor.