Lionsgate // 2010 // 85 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // February 19th, 2010
Who wants to die first?
Professional wrestlers David Bautista and Rob Van Dam team up in this action movie that features action and other movie-related items.
Van Dam stars as a former Navy SEAL named Bobby, who's given up his covert, killin' ways and started a normal life with his wife and daughter. One night he and his wife go on a double date to a nightclub, and a creepy, drunken yahoo tries to have his way with the Missus and ends up on the business end of his own knife, thanks to Bobby's nifty Judo moves.
The stiff turns out to be the son of a big-time gangster, and grief-stricken, he orders a bounty on Bobby's head. In order to survive the night, he's going to have to summon his lethal military moves and call in a favor from his old partner, a hulking brute named Ronnie (Bautista).
To all you Bautista fans out there, there's something you should know: the guy is barely in this. Granted, when de does show up, there's hell to pay, but primarily Wrong Side of Town is Rob Van Dam's movie.
Which isn't a bad thing, since he's a likable guy on screen. His line-reading could use some serious coaching, but RVD has charisma and the physical skills to sell his action sequences. And that's the most important thing, as I very much doubt that viewers are tuning in to wallow in the nuances of the plot, an okay gimmick (the whole thing takes place in one night, and there is a serious Warriors going on here) that exists merely to move Van Dam to the next encounter with whatever lowlife wants a piece of him.
These throwdowns are what drive the film and the moderately good news is that there is enough decent action to keep audiences hard up for dudes wailing on each other with their fists and gun butts. The choreography isn't electric and none of the stuff will be new to anyone who's seen anything remotely violent before, but Van Dam and Bautista (when he shows up, which is limited to three scenes) go all in and the wanton gunfire adds some added blood spray to the brute force melee.
That's all there is to Wrong Side of Town. It's not a great movie by any means, but it's more competent that what RVD's grappling counterparts in Tapout are producing these days.
Also, Ja Rule is given a nice billing on the cover of the disc case but he's in this less than Bautista, essentially playing a corpse. Stormy Daniels also makes an appearance, offering the mandatory, gratuitous breast exposure.
Lionsgate's Blu-ray is serviceable, starting with a solid 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen that holds up well considering virtually the entire film takes place at night. Details are strong enough and the bumped-up resolution really brings Bautista's tats and Daniel's boob veins to life. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is suitable for all the punches and thuds and the hip-hop-fueled soundtrack. Extras: cast interviews, fight training b-roll, featurettes on the action scenes and life on the set.
It's straight up meathead nonsense, but I don't think you'll hate yourself in the morning for burning through 85 minutes worth of Wrong Side of Town.
Not Guilty, but mainly because I have a high tolerance for this kind of
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
* English (SDH)
Running Time: 85 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Rated R