Combustible Celluloid
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With: Randy Orton, Eric Roberts, Wes Studi, Steven Michael Quezada, Bill Stinchcomb, Alex Knight, Dylan Kenin, Michael Sheets, Morse Bicknell, Mark Sivertsen
Written by: Alan B. McElroy
Directed by: Roel Reiné
MPAA Rating: R for violence throughout and language
Running Time: 90
Date: 11/06/2015

The Condemned 2 (2015)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Gambling Man

Having almost nothing to do with The Condemned (2007) except the idea of an illegal gambling ring, this sequel is all action, while completely lacking in brains, character, or emotional involvement.

Bounty hunter Will Tanner (Randy Orton) leads a team of trained men to catch the leader of an underground gambling ring, Cyrus Merrick (Wes Studi). When the mission does not go as planned, Tanner is arrested and forbidden to hunt bounties. He goes to work as a tow truck driver, but when he answers a call, he finds one of his former team members trying to kill him.

Other team members turn up, and they, too, suddenly try to kill Tanner. Eventually Tanner learns that Cyrus's second-in-command Baccaro (Steven Michael Quezada) has started a new game, with Tanner as the target. He teams up with his father (Eric Roberts) and some trusted colleagues and launches an all-out assault; but Baccaro still has a few tricks up his sleeve.

The curious casting of Eric Roberts as the father of Randy Orton yields nothing. No father-son bonding or heartfelt moments are to be found, anywhere. Moreover, it's very hard to get behind Orton, since his character is so easily, repeatedly fooled.

Other characters are interchangeable, and it's a shame that the dependable character actor Wes Studi disappears from the movie so early. Director Roel Reine tries to use drones and surveillance to say something about human nature, but his message is lost among the explosions. The Condemned 2 feels like something that might have been released on VHS in the 1980s; it's a totally needless sequel, all spectacle with absolutely nothing at stake, and only worthwhile if viewers turn off their brains.

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