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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Wrong Side of Town

February 21st, 2010

Wrong Side of Town - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

Wrong Side of Town is written and directed by David DeFalco and if you don't know that name, I'm not surprised. The last movie he made was Chaos, a movie that was singled out by some as the worst movie ever made. And not just because it was poorly made, but because it was the lowest form of torture porn around. This time he's made Wrong Side of Town, an action film about a dad trying to rescue his daughter. It's a genre that is not likely to win many awards, but it is also less likely to be as morally repugnant as his previous outings. Yes, that is damning it with faint praise, but going in my expectations were rather low.

The film starts with a man sitting in a chair with a cinder block tied to his hands. We learn he ratted out a mob boss, Seth, to the cops, but by a bit of bad luck, the cop he talked to, Briggs, was dirty. After that brief setup, we meet the star of the movie, Rob Van Dam, who is a professional wrestler. In the movie he stars as a former marine named Bobby Kalinowski, who along with his wife, Dawn, and his daughter, Brianna, live in a quiet neighborhood. When new neighbors, Clay and Elise Freeman, come by and invite them to a hot new club, he and his wife go. However, that club is run by Seth, and when Seth's drugged out younger brother, Ethan, tries to rape Dawn, Bobby steps in and accidentally kills Ethan. Now Seth is out for Robby and he's put a $100,000 bounty on his head and enlists the help of some local gangs. But when that doesn't work, he kidnaps Brianna and forces Bobby to come to him to rescue his daughter.

This is a simple story that we've seen countless times in countless direct-to-DVD releases. Yes, you've seen it all before, and I would be amazed if you haven't seen it done better. The film's cast is populated with wrestlers, rappers, and even a porn star, but almost no one that can act. Maybe it’s the terrible script, or the bad direction, but more than once I was shocked at how bad the lines were being delivered. The only redeeming qualities that this film could have are the fight scenes, but even here they were poorly done. I've seen many, many fight scenes in my years as a critic, so I'm always looking for something new when I watch a movie. There's nothing original here. Nor are the scene executed well, as they feel clunky and clumsy. Frankly, I was bored watching them.

On the other hand, I did like the animation used in the opening credits. It was practically the only part of the movie that had style.

Extras on the DVD include four featurettes, the first with the star, Rob Van Dam, talking about the limited wardrobe he had during the movie (it takes place in one night). There's another interview featurette, a featurette on the stunt work, and finally a featurette on the martial arts training done for the final showdown. That sounds like a lot, but in total there are just 12 minutes of extras, most of which are not worth checking out.

I do not have the Blu-ray to compare, but it appears to have no additional extras. On the other hand, it only costs about 11% more, so at least it is not overpriced.

The Verdict

It makes sense to make action movies starring wrestlers. After all, wrestlers are basically actors with stunt training. This is part of the problem with Wrong Side of Town. There's no point in watching the movie, because there are countless similar films to check out that are better. The DVD and the Blu-ray do not have enough extras to lift the film to the rental level. Unless you are a fan of Rob Van Dam, it is not even worth catching for free on TV.

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Filed under: Video Review, Wrong Side of Town