The Condemned Review
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In an attempt to become even richer than he already is, millionaire TV mogul Ian Breckel (Robert Mammone) turns to the Internet. His plan is to take 10 death row prisoners from around the world, place them on a deserted little island in the middle of nowhere, and let them fight to the death. At the end, the prisoner who manages to kill off the other nine will be set free. Meanwhile, thanks to the cameras set up all over the island, millions of people around the world will be able to watch the whole thing live from the comfort of their own computer—for a fee.

Breckel and his crew rush to set up the island and gather their prisoners. When they can’t find a good Arab, they settle for the tough American they found in a prison in El Salvador. Jack Conrad (Steve Austin) won’t tell them anything about his past, so they make some stuff up for his bio on the site. But, as it turns out, he’s not the crazed KKK member they make him out to be. He’s actually Jack Riley, US Special Ops. Though members of the government know he’s on the island, they decide to keep their operation secret—and they leave Jack to fight for his life.

Okay…so let’s talk a little bit about bad movies. Sometimes, a movie is so bad that it actually ends up being good. Take, for instance, Ghost Rider. The recent Nic Cage movie was so ridiculous that it was actually fun to watch. We critics were hoping the same would be true of The Condemned (which my esteemed colleague, David Medsker of, had brilliantly taken to calling Battle Royale with Cheese). But, sadly, we were wrong. The Condemned isn’t awesomely bad. It’s just plain bad.

There’s no doubt that The Condemned is predictable. Let’s see…you’ve got [Stone Cold] Steve Austin on an island with Vinnie Jones (whom you may have seen before) and a bunch of people you’ve never heard of. Any guesses as to what might happen? Instead of having fun with the predictable story and turning it into an over-the-top cult-classic, The Condemned takes itself way too seriously. It tries to be dramatic and meaningful. It even tries to have a point. But it spends so much time trying to have a point that it doesn’t even try to look realistic. The Internet reality show may have had cameras planted in trees and attached to cables running throughout the island, but the movie itself appears to have been filmed using cameras that were strapped on the backs of highly caffeinated monkeys—reducing action scenes to a frantic blur and some emphatic grunts.

The predictable story, the painful performances, and the wild-monkey footage are really only the tip of the Iceberg of Badness. In the end, the only truly entertaining thing about seeing The Condemned was the audience—who spent the entire film laughing and heckling. If it weren’t for the widespread bursts of laughter and the audience members yelling at the screen, it would have been a total waste of a perfectly good evening.

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