10 Things We Learned from Watching WWE Films
In 2002 Vince McMahon decided to conquer the movie world, and created WWE Films (now WWE Studios) to develop and produce feature films.
In terms of money, WWE Studios has cost Vince (a movie producer whom no one is about to confuse with Jerry Bruckheimer) a considerable amount of money. Reportedly, only The Marine and See No Evil ever made a profit, presumably because there was some initial camp value for fans in going to see their favourite wrestlers of WWE in actual movies,
The rest of the movies were definitely not financial successes, though. Notably action films like The Condemned and 12 Rounds lost millions and the saccharine, coming-of-age flick That's What I Am lost $3 million for the company when all was said and done. The HHH vehicle, The Chaperone, tanked so badly on its (very limited) opening weekend it didn't even register on most box office measurement sites at first. Ouch.
So, Vince has failed in yet another outside project and thrown his money down the toilet once again (after failing in politics, bodybuilding, the music industry and professional football, you would think the WWE owner would have learned by now that it would be a lot easier—and cheaper—to simply stick to what he's good at.)
But does that mean WWE Films were a total waste? Of course not. In fact, over the course of 10 movies we reckon WWE Studios has taught us some extremely valuable life lessons. Whether it's teaching us the importance of marriage (only worth doing if you're willing to save your wife from kidnappers every other week) or that HHH has more get-out-of-jail-free cards than a Monopoly board, there's always some sort of life lesson to glean from watching these flicks.
So, partly in honor of the HHH movie Inside Out and its upcoming release, here is a rundown of what we've learned so far...
Even Talented Actors Have to Pay the Bills
While WWE Studios generally has a very trashy, low-rent reputation in the film industry (this was probably unavoidable, considering the wrestling association), they have nonetheless managed to attract some big-name and credible actors to their projects.
Legendary's Patricia Clarkson (she was the woman who wanted her son back, but didn't know how) is an Academy Award nominated actress; she has also been nominated for a Golden Globe and won two Emmys for her role on the critically acclaimed Six Feet Under. Her Legendary co-star, Danny Glover, is also highly respected in the industry and, of course, sprang to fame in the hugely popular Lethal Weapon franchise. That's What I Am's Ed Harris is also a popular and critically acclaimed actor; and 12 Rounds' villain Aiden Gillen had a starring role on HBO's The Wire, widely accepted as one of the best television shows ever made.
So what are all these credible, talented actors doing in these bottom-of-the-scrapheap films?
Well, being a well-known actor isn't all glamour and fun, you know. That is, unless you're Angelina Jolie (who, safe to say, will never have to star in The Marine 3 for the easy paycheck) or someone of similar mega-fame. Most actors, even the better known ones, can go through dry periods and often have to resort to taking roles solely because they pay decently. Come on, you didn't think Yeardley Smith (from The Chaperone) could live off The Simpsons' residuals forever, did you?
On the bright side, while it may have been demeaning for Danny Glover to star in a straight-to-dvd WWE film, at least he can now say he finally managed to star in a movie worse than Lethal Weapon 4.
Women Are Totally Helpless
Most viewers of the films WWE has churned out will notice an unsettling trend: the women featured in these films are, frankly, totally hopeless and do nothing except get kidnapped by the bad guy and wait for a big burly man to come rescue them. The WWE Divas may be smart, sexy and powerful, but these poor girls aren't. Heck, they get kidnapped more times than Daphne from Scooby-Doo.
Don't believe me? Well, John Cena's first starring vehicle, The Marine, saw Cena playing an ass-kicking marine (well, duh) who is holidaying with his beautiful blonde wife (played by the relatively well-known actress Kelly Carlson, see previous slide) when, out-of-nowhere, she gets kidnapped by a gang of robbers and he has to save her, breaking all the rules in the process!
The Marine 2, with Ted Dibiase (who was so bad in this he might as well have gotten acting lessons from Tommy Wiseau), had roughly the same plot. While the couple are on vacation, the hero's blonde, beautiful wife gets abducted by terrorists and, once again, the titular marine (who just wanted a nice, relaxing vacation, dammit!) has to spring into action to save her, breaking all the rules in the process!
John Cena's next movie, 12 Rounds, didn't feature any marines, but we were once again treated to a lazy retread of the same old plot: Cena plays a tough cop whose beautiful blonde girlfriend gets abducted by an old adversary, and he has to complete 12 gruelling tasks in order to get her back, breaking all the rules in the process!
Personally, I'm hoping that, eventually, there will be a WWE film in which the villain kidnaps the hero's wife, only it turns out she was a terrible woman who nagged him all the time and generally made his life miserable, and the hero is more than happy to see the back of her. Instead of trying to save her, he casually goes home and plays his Xbox for the duration of the movie.
Back on topic, these women mentioned, while portrayed as dumb and hopeless in every possible sense, still had a far easier time than the chicks in Kane's gruesome slasher flick See No Evil. In that film, almost all of the (scantily-clad) female characters are hunted down, tortured and brutally murdered during the course of the movie. Yikes.
Randy Orton Will Go to the Papers
...if he has to.
You Can Totally Rip-off Die Hard and No-One Will Care
As any action fan will know, Die Hard with a Vengeance (second sequel in the hugely popular Die Hard series), revolves around John McClane, a tough New York cop dragged into a villainous plot that sees him running all over the city involving one complicated, deadly task after another. Ostensibly, the bad guy is targeting him because he killed his brother in a previous movie. But it ultimately turns out that all the stuff with McClane solving these tasks was simply a smokescreen for the villain's real goal—a huge bank robbery. In the end, despite all the stiff authority figures standing in his way, McClane manages to wreck the bad guy's plan and kill him, reeling off a few one-liners in the process.
The plot of 12 Rounds is eerily similar to this: Danny Fisher, a tough New Orleans cop, is dragged into a villainous plot that sees him running all over the city involving one complicated, deadly task after another. Ostensibly, the bad guy is targeting Danny because he killed his girlfriend but it ultimately turns out that all the stuff with the hero solving these tasks was simply a smokescreen for the villain's real goal—a huge bank robbery. In the end, despite all the stiff authority figures standing in his way, Danny manages to wreck the bad guy's plan and kill him, reeling off a few one-liners in the process.
Only 12 Rounds didn't have Bruce Willis or Samuel L. Jackson, which automatically proves it's inferior. Thankfully, it looks like no-one behind Die Hard with a Vengeance actually saw 12 Rounds (who did?) otherwise we reckon there could have been a few lawsuits.
Your Name or Occupation Can Never Be Too Manly
Don't believe me? Let's ask John Triton, a bad ass marine who would have single-handedly won the Iraq War if they hadn't been dumb enough to send him home early. Or ask The Condemned's Jack Conrad, a bad ass Delta Force agent. Or Carter Holt, from Behind Enemy Lines: Columbia, a bad ass Navy SEAL who, practically by himself, managed to avert World War Three. Or The Chaperone's Ray Bradstone, who was the best getaway driver in the business before going straight. He was a bad ass, too.
Notice a trend here? Note to readers: you don't get to save the world, or have a movie made about you, if your name is Marvin Hickenbottom and you're a mild-mannered plumber from Ohio.
Triple H Has a Very Limited Acting Range
In The Chaperone, Triple H plays Ray, a remorseful man getting out of prison after a long stretch, eager to stay out of trouble, live a quiet, law-abiding life and reconnect with family and friends. But he finds himself faced with criminal elements who want to drag him back into his old life.
In WWE Films latest release, Inside Out, Triple H plays AJ, a remorseful man getting out of prison after a long stretch, eager to stay out of trouble, live a quiet, law-abiding life and reconnect with family and friends. But he finds himself faced with criminal elements who want to drag him back into his old life.
Um...anyone notice the similarities here? This guy gets typecast more than Michael Cera.
You Can Never Have Too Many Explosions
Considering Michael Bay has already become a parody of himself, it's difficult to imagine how anyone could come off as an even lower-rent, trashier version of the Transformers director. But WWE Studios has managed it, by practically having a fetish for explosions going off all the time in their films.
Indeed, when it comes to movies like The Marine, The Marine 2. Behind Enemy Lines: Columbia, The Condemned and 12 Rounds, it seems something explodes on-screen every five minutes. Don't believe me? Check out this short trailer for The Marine 2, which features seven explosions in under 40 seconds!
More impressively still, our WWE heroes can simply jump away from the numerous explosions dramatically at the last second and emerge completely unscathed! Think John Cena is a poor seller in the ring? Check out the part in The Marine where a gas station actually explodes while he's in it, but by simply jumping out of the store, he gets off with barely a scratch.
It's Okay to Have a Morally Confusing Message in Your Movie
Aside from all the brutal and gory murders, long fights to the death, bad ass characters and—YES—explosions, Steve Austin's The Condemned makes a point to ask some very deep and troubling questions—are filmmakers who glorify violence partly to blame for the moral downfall of society? Is this merely harmless escapist entertainment or something much more awful?
Indeed, early on in the movie a reporter pesters the movie's villain, Breckel, about this and questions the ethics of his incredibly violent and graphic reality television show (which our protagonist finds himself unwittingly dragged into). Breckel dismisses her as preachy and ends the interview, but this point continually resurfaces throughout the movie as the carnage unfolds, and is obviously something we're supposed to be concerned about and reflect on.
I know what you're thinking. At least WWE was trying to do something aside from action flicks and take on a more sensitive, artistic approach. They should be praised for having some ambition, right?
Except the entire movie is a gory, sick, twisted orgy of violence and non-stop obscenities which revels in its depravity and trashiness. It is pretty much aimed at bloodthirsty audiences who seek out this sort of graphic action. The movie exists solely to see people torture and kill each other in horrible, nasty ways.
Um...so was the scriptwriter schizophrenic or something? Or did he simply not realize the glaring contradiction?
Let's face it, Santino was right—this movie sucked.
Someone Actually Thought the Big Show in a Diaper Would Be a Good Movie
...And that throwing in a whole ton of poop and fart jokes would be uproariously funny.
Frankly, we have no idea who came up with this cringe worthy concept, but one thing is for sure—they should be driven out of Hollywood by an angry mob with pitchforks and torches and never let anywhere near the production of another television or feature film again.
Or, more cruelly, they should be tied up and forced to watch the atrocity that is Knucklehead, over and over again with their eyes pried open like in the movie A Clockwork Orange.
Dating John Cena Is Extremely Bad for Your Health
Seriously, women of movieland: DO NOT DATE THIS MAN. Something terrible or awful is guaranteed to happen to you. Bound to. It's like being a Spinal Tap drummer.