"Damage" DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review

5/30/2010 Posted by Admin

DVD, Blu-ray Review


By our guest blogger, Jeremy Wilkinson

The 2009 movie “Damage” marks the return of former professional wrestler Steve Austin as a film protagonist. Movies starring pro wrestlers should be looked at with suspicion. Every now and then, they star in a good film. More often than not, the movies in which they are protagonists tend to be endearingly awful or just plain bad. Anyone remember “Mr. Nanny”? “Damage” falls somewhere in the middle. While it’s certainly not the next great action movie, it is more entertaining than bad.

Ex-convict John Brickner (Austin) is trying to get his life back together after being paroled. But, he finds the life after prison isn’t so easy. Things get even more complicated when a woman from his past shows up. Brickner went to prison for manslaughter, and the widow of the man he killed needs Brickner’s help. Her daughter needs a heart transplant that costs $250,000. So, the ex-con joins an underground fighting ring to try and raise enough money to get the little girl a new heart.

The best parts of “Damage” are the fight scenes. Violence tends to be stylized in film (which often works), but here, every battle is kept as realistic as possible. There are only a couple of times that an aerial attack is shown. Everything else is bare-knuckled grit. Occasionally, you can almost feel the hits. There are few times you wonder how one fighter did not block a particular strike, which is rather jarring. Thankfully, those logic gaps do not happen often. Slow motion is kept to a merciful minimum.

Brickner’s fights are framed with a competent story that works more often than it doesn’t. The narrative does not rise into greatness, but it also isn’t mired by mediocrity. It takes the routes you’d expect it to take, with a few detours. While not amazing or life changing, it is interesting enough to keep the movie going.

Steve Austin’s acting is a mixed bag. It’s improved slightly since “The Condemned” and he does his best to carry this movie. There isn’t too much depth with his acting, however. If he’s not stoic or angry, he’s not completely believable. The rest of the cast does their best to support, and everyone does their job competently.

If you’re looking to kick back and watch a good action movie, you could do worse than “Damage.” Its quality is on about the same level as “The Condemned”--it has some cool scenes and can be enjoyed if you can accept the flaws. It’s slightly above average and is worth a watch if you like street fights or Steve Austin.

Grade:  C

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