9/23/2011

Damage

Title: Damage
Director: Jeff King
Writer: Frank Hannah
Cast: Steve Austin, Walton Goggins, Laura Vandervoort, Donnelly Rhodes, Lynda Boyd
Year: 2009
Min: 102

After serving four out of the seven years that John Brickner (Steve Austin) received for second-degree manslaughter, he ends up working as a construction worker, at day and bar bouncer at night. One day after work he meets up with Veronica Reynolds (Lynda Boyd), the widow of the man he killed. It turns out she petitioned for his releases after all the letters he wrote to her asking for her forgiveness. She tells him that her daughter Sarah, of eight years of age, needs a $250,000 heart transplant. He at first rejects the offer to do underground fighting for fight promoter Reno Paulsaint (Walton Goggins), but then he loses his job (but not before saving a man). He decides to do it, after getting help for finding him via his beautiful assistant and companion Frankie (V's Laura Vandervoort, here a brunette). Brickner begins to whoop some major ass, but Reno has some debts of his own.

I have to say that I was very surprised with how good this movie is. Usually movies starring pro-wrestlers are awful, even worse if they are direct-to-video, like this was. But, despite not being very original, it's a very entertaining and engaging film.

A big part of the appeal comes from the cast, which is quite good. I am a long time of Austin, as he was one of my favorites in the WWF/E. But, I was expecting him to be that good in this film. But, he really is. He comes off as a believable working class hero. He manages to kick some serious ass, but also manages to add some heart to his portrayal of his character. The rest of the cast is good, too. Vandervoort looks even more beautiful as a brunette and really gets to show off her acting chops. The characters are likable, with Reno having a good character arc.

Director King manages to keep the pace moving nicely. The fight scenes are bloody and brutal, and are well off-set by some actually heartfelt moments. I do think the ending wraps up everything to nicely and perfectly, though.

In all, this is a good surprise. If you are a fan of action films or even a good drama, you will definitely enjoy this one. If you are a fellow Austin fan it's a must see.

*** out of ****

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