'The Condemned 2' Review: You Don't Have to do This!
In 2007, WWE Studios produced a film called The Condemned, in which Stone Cold Steve Austin is put on an island with nine other convicts and is forced to fight and kill them in a battle royal style plot. In 2015, they decided to make a sequel starring Randy Orton and including none of the same characters or actors. This film is The Condemned 2.
In the original movie, all the characters that Steve Austin was fighting against were introduced and characterized, all be it poorly, so that during the fight scenes the audience had a modicum of context for what was going on. In The Condemned 2, the viewer gets a short glimpse of Randy Orton and his team of bounty hunters on a mission in which they kill their target, and his subordinate magically escapes out of the police cordon around them. Orton is convicted of manslaughter for killing the criminal, but his sentence is commuted, and he goes home to his ranch in the middle of the desert. The second in command minion that escaped takes over his boss' empire and then convinces all of the members of the bounty hunter team to try and kill Orton because we're supposed to care despite not seeing any scenes that build the relationship that is so easily being betrayed. Half of the traitors are also killed by Orton before we are even told what is happening. Randy Orton moves through the predictable plot points, begging his friends to put down they're guns as he murders them, and the writers showcase their complete lack of understanding in regards to how guns and grenades work. When Orton gets shot in the elbow with a .50 caliber sniper rifle that had previously blown a sheriff's chest open, he gets a bandage from a med kit and goes right back to fighting.
The film uses a big budget and fancy toys to make massive explosions and get fresh aerial drone footage, but everything else is so poorly thought out, and cliché that the high-tech equipment used to film the feature comes nowhere close to making it an actually enjoyable film. They use the same basic montage of shots between every action scene instead of putting any actual work into script writing. The villain, played by Steven Michael Quezada, is predictable, repetitive, cowardly, and weak, making him anything but an intimidating big bad. The one exception to the relatively bland film is the scene which comes at an hour into the movie, in which an explosives expert team member, who'd been given one line of dialogue before trying to murder his friend, mines an entire canyon with explosives. This scene manages to be mildly entertaining as Randy Orton and friend run through a massive line of booby traps and mines to the first upbeat and noticeable bit of soundtrack in the entire movie.
In the end, as with everything attached to the WWE brand, The Condemned 2 manages to be an expensive pyrotechnic extravaganza of cheap thrills and cheaper writing, where the right guy wins, because duh, and Randy Orton never even RKOs a bad guy into the dirt. If you want a much better movie with the same general premise, check out The Tournament from 2009 starring Ving Rhames.