Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I don’t watch professional wrestling and I haven’t watched since I was a little boy and I was looking at Mr. Wrestling No. 2, Dusty Rhodes and Bruno Sammartino doing the damn thing, so if I know who you are you must be a pretty damn popular wrestler. Don’t know who Rob Van Dam is, who happens to be the lead in this little action flick ‘Wrong Side of Town’ but I do know who Batista is. That’s one extra large sonofabitch right there. I don’t care if wrestling is staged or not, but I’m not getting anywhere near that dude. However Batista, known as Dave Bautista, isn’t the star of this movie even though he dominates the box cover and has his picture above the title in this movie. In fact Dave Bautista is in this movie just a little bit more than me and you are, but his scenes were memorable in this run of the mill action flick ‘Wrong Side of Town’.

Van Dam is ex-super badass navy seal Bobby Kalinowski. It would appear that being an ex-Navy seal grants one financial independence because Bobby K doesn’t look like he has a job to me. Of course that’s neither here nor there, just a casual observance. The K’s have some new neighbors in the ultra geeky brother Clay (Edrick Brown) and his lovely wife Elise (Ava Santana). Clay is some kind of Landscape architect and has just redesigned the club of big time mobster Seth Bordas (Jerry Katz) and has invited his new neighbors to go to this hopping club for fun, suds, and dancing.

I think we all know that something bad must happen at this club, such as when Seth’s crazy baby brother Ethan (Ross Britz) attempts to rape Mrs. K (Lara Grice) and ends up dying of blunt force knife trauma to the chest in the process. Problem is Seth thinks Bobby K did this killing even though he really didn’t. Admittedly if Bobby had just allowed this guy to rape his wife Ethan would probably still be alive now but that’s splitting hairs. Anyways, Seth wants Bobby’s ‘head on a platter’ and has offered up 100 large to any cutthroat, mean dude and never do well to bring Bobby to him.

We wish Seth the best of luck in this task because as Dirty Cop Briggs has told Seth that Bobby is a trained killer the likes of which he has never seen. Note that Briggs is played by FCU favorite Louis Herthum, a character actor whose time, we believe, has come. Sure enough, these mean dudes encounter Bobby with most of them subsequently encountering the end of their lives. Dave Bautista comes into play as an old war buddy who Bobby needs to get him out a sticky jam with Bautista’s character spending most of his time whining about never being invited to dinner. Note to self: If I have any 6’5" 300 pound muscle bound tatted up friends from back in the day, call them RIGHT NOW and invite them to dinner.

Oh yeah, Bobby has a precocious teenage daughter named Brianna (Brooke Frost). The minute you see the girl you will know what purpose she will serve. A big showdown will ensue.

Directed by David DeFalco we gotta say there really isn’t a lot to this movie ‘Wrong Side of Town’. It is a rather straight forward, run of the mill, action themed flick that adds absolutely nothing new to the genre. Ex-retired super badass runs through town mowing down faceless goons in an effort to save his kidnapped daughter from the completely unreasonable oppressive mob-lord. Nothing even remotely different from the flicks we used to watch back in the mid 80’s, minus the high production values.

This isn’t to say I wasn’t entertained by this movie a little bit. It did have a lot of humor in it, some of it was planned, some of it I believe was unintended, but it was funny. Some of the fight scenes were pretty good, the one between Bautista and the knife wielding character of Markus (Marrese Crump) in particular, and lets get a shout out to Randall Reeder who does big, mean and ugly just about as well as anybody. While Rob Van Dam isn’t the second coming of Sir Lawrence Olivier… heck, he’s not even the second coming of Jean-Claude Van Damme, he was just fine working within the confines of what the man can do as an actor. Personally, I probably wouldn’t have had him get shot in the leg early in movie which required my man to remember to limp throughout the movie, which the director failed to remind him of on occasion. Dave Bautista is action movie ready already and probably has a career in this kind of thing if he so desires and Jerry Katz can deliver a good line when the good line is given to him. Note we really can’t mention Omarion and Ja Rule all that much, despite their high billing in this movie because they didn’t do much in the movie. Ja Rule did provide one of the more humorous bits. Again, unlike Ja Rule’s character, I’m probably not going to mouth off to Dave Bautista with him within arms reach of me. Over the phone I’ll let that mofo have it.

‘Wrong Side of Town’ is not a good movie, no sir, it is not. It is predictable, inconsistent and lacks polish. But maybe because I’m getting soft in my old age I can find some good in almost everything and there was some entertainment to be had here. You just gotta be patient. Oh, and the opening title sequence was seriously off the chain in a ‘James Bond’ kind of way. Whoever created that has some major motion design ability.

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