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4.5 out of 5 stars
Damage
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon March 30, 2010
Format: DVD
Steve Austin plays John Brickner, an ex-convict who was serving time for murder. John was able to be released thanks to a letter sent in by the wife of the man he killed, Veronica, only to find out that she had an alterior motive...for him to get money need for a heart transplant for her daughter. Unfortunally with John not being able to get the money with the two jobs he currently has, he meets up with his a co-worker Frankie & her friend Reno to go into the world of "no holds barred" underground fighting. John must keep fighting & winning in order to keep making the money while dealing with the pressure being put on him by Veronica & her personal problems, Reno oweing money to everyone they seem to do business with, and everything taking it's physical & emotional toll on him.

This was wasn't your basic one dimentional action movie as they were able to tell more than one story as each of the main characters did have an issue to overcome. The acting was good & Steve Austin did his role well. The action here was completely based on mixed martial arts (MMA) fighting with a hardcore element at times with weapons being occassionally used but for just straight fistfights...they come off very brutal & realistic.

In the end, if your a fan of heavy fight scenes that rely on "street fighting" over other ways of film action (explosions, gunfire, heavily chorographed fight scenes) then this is definately a movie worth checking out.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2010
Format: DVD
This movie takes Stone Cold to a new level as an actor. Normally we see Steve play the same kind of character who is nothing more than an ass kicker. But in this film we see a new side to Steve, along with very good action we also get to see a solid acting performance. The film is a hard-edged, bare-knuckles fight film that focuses on the tough choices people make in times of recession. Along with the acting the movie has great music scores that blend very well with the film. One problem i have with this dvd is that they didn't add any extra features not even a commentary. I would of love to see some behind the scenes footage and also would of liked to hear a commentary done by Stone Cold, giving us a bit of a backstory on the film. All of that would've been epic. But 20th Century Fox just dropped the ball on this one. The only things it has are a few trailers and a spanish track and possibly another dubbed track but i cant remember. Even though it lacks on extra features this movie is worth buying. Only because you get a lot more out of Steve than you do in his previous films. Instead of The Condemned, I would of preferred seeing this one in theaters because it offers so much more in my opinion.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2010
Format: DVD
The WWE has made the leap in the past few years from ringside only to the silver screen. More often than not, less silver screen and more TV screen. The fact is that they've taken a number of their biggest stars and turned them into hot properties, decent actors and in some cases (like The Rock) major stars. Stone Cold Steve Austin has made the attempt, but never quite made the big league. He has put out some pretty good action films and this week's release of DAMAGE is one of those.

Austin plays John Brickner, a man just released on parole who was doing time for manslaughter. It seems he was involved in an altercation with another man and ended up strangling him. Now free, John is working construction for a boss who treats him like dirt and as a bouncer in a local bar.

Into John's life enters Veronica (Lynda Boyd), the wife of the man he killed. She confronts John and tells him the only reason she spoke on his behalf was that she needs his help. Her daughter is dying and needs a heart transplant. The only problem is that it costs $250,000 and she doesn't have it. She expects John to come up with the money somehow and save her daughter's life. Okay, this is the biggest thing that's hard to believe here. A recently paroled con working menial labor is supposed to come up with $250,000?

Of course there's a catch and a way that John can come up with the money. How else would we have a movie? The main waitress at the bar, Frankie (Laura Vandervoot), happens to be a friend if a man with a plan named Reno (Walton Goggins). Reno has connections in the underground fight business, a rough and tumble bit of action where there are no holds barred, weapons can accidentally end up in the ring and damage is the name of the game.

Reno sees a chance at the big times with John. In return for helping set up fights for John, Reno gets his cut. It also gives John a chance at making some big money which he can use to help Veronica's daughter.

Reno sets up the fights, one after the other. All involve some serious pain and suffering on the parts of all involved. But John comes through, meeting all challengers and making money along the way. The big one, the six figure battle, looms on the horizon but for one reason or another it keeps getting waylaid.

Then a side item short circuits his plans. It seems Reno owes people some big money and John eventually has to make a choice, pay off Reno's debt or save the little girl. More than that, the debt Reno owes was once Frankie's and the relationship between the two takes on a whole new meaning.

A few other subplots fill out the movie making it a little deeper than one would expect, but it still doesn't rank as a major motion picture seeking the attention of the Oscar crowd. Instead we get what fans of Steve Austin are looking for, non-stop brutal action that doesn't require him to cite Shakespeare.

But Austin does hold his own here. The gravel voiced wrestler turned actor does a good job as Brickner, wanting to get his life together, wanting to do the right thing and trying to pay back the world for the mistakes he's made in his life. Austin portrays the beat down look of the ex-con well while at the same time making him someone with a moral code that doesn't always help him get where he wants to be.

The film offers plenty of action and tons of bloodshed. No flying bullets but plenty of fisticuffs and flying blood. The fights run the gamut from realistic to overblown but for fans of this sort of film that won't matter. What will matter is seeing Stone Cold Steve Austin kick butt again like he did in the ring.

With a role in the upcoming Stallone flick THE EXPENDABLES, perhaps Austin's film career will take a turn for the better. For his fans, they'll be happy to see him in this one which may not be high art, but does offer some action packed adult fun.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2010
Format: DVD
great movie with stone cold and it was a pretty good plot too. action thru out and even some sad parts for you drama freeks.well worth the rental price, but would recommend buying this video.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2011
Format: DVD
Despite the fact that I detest wrestling - I'm stunned by the ability of these guys in their film projects. In addition to Austin, the work done by Dwayne Johnson and John Cena are actually great fun. The film arm of the WWE Entertainment machine keeps pumping out very enjoyable action/thrillers.

Today's professional wrestlers have proven that the ridiculous circus they come from also produces some solid acting talent. And when you really think about it - it makes sense.

Look at the audience for wrestling, and I'm not stereotyping here, what I mean is: Look at how convinced what they're watching is real, how committed they are to their heroes and even their villains, look at the passion they have towards their sport/entertainment. Something is driving that, a passion that can only be whipped up by truly great acting. That's genuine craftwork on display.

If it weren't so damn strange, I would suggest all wannabe actors attend wrestling school instead of doing summer stock.

I know a lot of film fans might scoff at that opinion - fair enough. But you might be too young to remember the unending line of wooden morons Hollywood churned out during the 80's and 90's. Most were athletes or martial artists who looked great, but honestly couldn't act their way out of a wet paper bag.

Seriously, you have to watch a Dennis Rodman (basketball) or Olivier Gruner (martial arts) flick to really understand and appreciate Steve Austin and his compatriots.

I'm hopeful that Austin knows what and who he is and doesn't try to do a Vin Diesel and become an 'actor'. This despite the fact that Austin can really act - and do it well.

Oh right - the review.

"Damage" is a seriously good reboot of the 1975 classic "Hard Times" with Charles Bronson and James Coburn. <g>

The world of bare-knuckle fighting goes back thousands of years and has continued to this very day in the underground world of illegal sporting matches. What I found appealing was that Austin's character is sickened by the thought of having to destroy another person simply for money, even if it's money that he desperately needs to make right a wrong he committed years previously; a wrong he was sent to prison for - killing a man during a fight.

Strong drama with surprising comedic moments thrown in at the right time.

Very enjoyable and one that I've already added to the library.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on December 12, 2010
Format: DVD
When I checked out Damage, I was still reeling from Austin's flop, "The Stranger" - and was understandably skeptical. However, after watching the movie, I was rather pleased. Although his acting is not in the same league as The Rock, it's better than it was before. Also, the combat in these movies, although no Blood Fist equal, is solid and hard-hitting. Austin doesn't just mow over the guys (and does face some pretty decent fighters), but does finish his fights strong. His finisher is a powerful punch to the heart, but he doesn't overdo it (meaning they don't build the last-half of each fight around it), and he takes just as much damage as the other guy, driving home the fact that he can kick ass but is human.
Lastly, the story is pretty decent and the backgrounds of the two supporting characters makes for an intersting addition to the movie. In all, it is a great rental and, if you like brawlers, would make a good addition to your movie library.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I actually bought this movie for my husband, who is a wrestling fan. I wasn't expecting to enjoy it as much as I did.

I have seen "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in other movies he has made such as Tactical Force (BOO) and Hunt To Kill (better) but "Damage" is the best to date. It shows off his fighting, rough tough side but also has a tearjerker understory.

This one was worth watching with hubby. I enjoyed it.

NOTE: It is a fighting movie so there is blood and violence (in case you thought Austin was going to be a cream puff in this movie). He's not.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
Steve Austin stars as John Brickner - a man released from prison and on a trail for redemption. Redemption comes with a price though and John find himself fighting in an underground fight club to get money needed for a heart transplant for the daughter of a man he killed. A great action film worth buying. Damage (2009)
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on March 29, 2010
Format: DVD
The long awaited (at least for this author) release of Damage (2009), which was released in the United Kingdom in 2009, made its way to my mailbox recently and I was able to view it in its entirity. Unfortunately, the expectations that I placed for the film fell slightly short of the product itself.

Steve Austin plays a man paroled after 4.5 years for committing murder, who is confronted by his victim's widow as a person to make financial reparations for her in order to fund a heart transplant for her sick daughter. Working as a lowly construction worker and broke himself, Brickner must side up with the seedy Reno and his beautiful girlfriend Franky in the dangerous underworld of cage fighting.

Although Austin plays John Brickner with some vulnerability, something that marks a keen development in his abilities as an actor since The Condemned (2007), the dialogue is still a bit stilted and the magnificent Walton Goggins (of FX's Justified) does his best but ultimately to little avail. The fight scenes themselves are mildly entertaining, although Austin sticks mostly to standing and punching, and relying occasionally on his surroundings to get the better of his opponents. Indeed, this story has been told many times before, but perhaps the strongest scenes in this film are the ones where Austin is seen caring for the widow, or when he is offered the opportunity to project Reno from his most dangerous debt collector but at the cost of forgoing the money for the little girl's operation.

Perhaps the biggest problem I had with this film was the meandering of the script, the rushed development of Brickner's predicament and then the equal haste he provides in deciding to trust Goggin's character. Still, this is a positive development in the acting career of Steve Austin. If he can continue to grow, and demonstrate more range, he could morph into a servicable actor moving forward. A good look at his acting future may be the box office outcome for this summer's throw back actioner "The Expendables," which will feature Austin in a one-on-one fight scene with Sylvester Stallone.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2010
Format: DVD
John Brickner (Steve Austin) is an ex-con with some big problems on his hands. Actually, his hands are his biggest problem. He used them to choke a man to death, a mistake that sent John to prison for 7 years. Now, Brickner is a free man and eager to turn his life around. He begins by looking for a job but the stigma of being an ex-con scares off potential employers. As if that weren't bad enough, John gets confronted by the wife of the man he murdered. Turns out it was her letters to the parole board that earned him an early release. Before he can thank her, she warns him that she had her motives for doing it. Her daughter will die unless she gets a heart transplant. Since she doesn't have insurance it's going to cost $250,000. She expects John to pay for it. When trying to reason with her fails, he frantically begins searching for a job. He finds employment as a construction worker but the foreman is a jerk who doesn't trust him and, worst of all, takes a cut of John's meager earnings. Brickner begins moonlighting as a bouncer at a rowdy bar after coming to the aid of a beautiful waitress named Frankie (Laura Vandervoort). Turns out Frankie's boyfriend Reno (Walton Goggins) is in the fight game. After taking one look at the blue collar brawler, Reno figures he can make enough money off of John to pay off his own sizable debts to various mobsters who want him dead. Brickner is a hard sell, especially after seeing some of the madmen Reno expects him to jump into a cage with, but after learning he could earn up to six figures for a single fight, John reluctantly agrees. Before long, John is putting those deadly hands of his to use for good. But will his violent past get the better of him again? Will he be able to stop himself from going over the edge? Will the dead man's daughter get her heart in time? Can Reno be trusted? Is Frankie super hot? All these questions and more will be answered in 'Damage' (not to be confused with the Glenn Close TV show 'Damages'.)

The plot is cliched as hell and if you've ever seen 'Lionheart', 'Fighting', 'Blood and Bone' or countless other movies you already know how the movie's gonna end. This film follows the exact same template as all those other films which is so simple: an honorable man gets mixed up with a fast talking hustler who promises him an opportunity to make some fast cash in a violent way. The man is forced to put aside his morals since he's desperate to make enough money quickly so he can buy his own redemption. Along the way he falls in love and tries to save the hustler even though he shouldn't be trusted and blah, blah, blah. You get the picture. The only thing that saves this movie, besides the fight scenes, is the strong acting from all 3 leads. Stone Cold shows some real acting chops here. He's certainly convincing as a bare knuckle brawler but he also has to pull off some "heavy" scenes as well. In his interactions with the wife and her ill daughter he does an excellent job of showing a man wrestling with his demons and desperately hoping for some kind of forgiveness and salvation. I was really impressed by his performance. Goggins, the veteran character actor from 'The Shield' and 'Justified', is extremely loud and obnoxious as Reno but that's the point. He's a salesman who's ultimately trying to sell himself as a tough talking smooth operator when in actuality he's sentimental to a fault and deathly afraid that John won't be able to earn him the money he needs to pay off his debts. Last, but certainly not least is Frankie. Even though her full backstory isn't revealed until the final 20 minutes, we get occasional glimpses of the hardships and horrors she's faced. In spite of all of the abuse she's suffered she manages to be a loving and devoted girlfriend to Reno and a protective and nurturing mother figure to John whom she patches up after every fight. These 3 survivors form a very sweet, albeit dysfunctional, family that makes the viewer root for them even more. Like John, you hope for a happy ending since each one of them deserves it.

'Damage' isn't a great movie nor is it an original one, but it's more than competently made and acted. If you're a Stone Cold fan then this movie is a must see. And even if you're not a fan and all you know about Austin is from his wrestling days, then give this film a chance and let him surprise you.
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