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An adrenalin-charged action thriller, The Condemned tells the story of Jack Conrad (Stone Cold Steve Austin), who is awaiting the death penalty in a corrupt Central American prison. He is purchased by a wealthy television producer and taken to a desolate island where he must fight to the death against nine other condemned killers from all corners of the world, with freedom going to the sole survivor. The producer films the illegal event, airing the killings live and uncensored onto the internet.
Like your action movies loud, fast, and violent? World Wrestling Entertainment has just your cup of testosterone with The Condemned, a derivative but watchable punch-out starring "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, one of its top draws. The mountainous Austin is a former Special Forces soldier who is retrieved from a Latin American jail by an unscrupulous television producer to participate in a pay-per-view death match in which ten criminals must fight each other to the death. The other contestants (which include fellow athlete-turned-actor Vinnie Jones) are all cut from the most villainous of cloths, but Austin is, of course, Wrongly Accused; in no way does this prevent him from opening a ten-gallon drum of beatdown on his competitors. Scott Wiper's direction is overwrought, and the script's attempt to make a statement on violence is pointless, but Austin is a more charismatic lead than John Cena in the WWE's previous action movie effort, The Marine. And the premise, which has been tapped by everything from The Most Dangerous Game to Battle Royale, is pure comic book fun, and should please B-movie fans who felt turned off by Grindhouse's relentless tongue-in-cheek tone. -- Paul Gaita
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Recommendations: The Hunger Games,No Escape,Surviving the Game (1994), and Escape from New York