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Arena (2011)

Mortal Kombat meets The Running Man. With Samuel L. Jackson.


In, um, "the future" (or present day?) the interwebnets stream The Deathgames where two trained combatants go mano-o-mano to the death! Of course it's all fake, and special effects (of course) - so the public think. The government? Not so much. But anyone can hide on the internet. Anyway. David Lord, a fireman, has a car crash where his pregnant wife dies. After a bar fight some time later, he is kidnapped to fight.

For the first 60 or so minutes of the film, that's the plot.

Kellan Lutz

There is more to the plot, but I'll avoid spoilers on this one.

Kellan Lutz (Twilight, Immortals) mopes his way through the beginning of the movie as protagonist Lord. He's not bad, has some base acting chops, but hits the physical side of the role well. Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction, Kingsmen) is Logan - the big bad behind it all. He's...Samuel L. Jackson. The issue I have with Jackson these days is the same as that I have with Bruce Willis - can you not try. So if you like Jackson, it'll work for you.

The supporting cast are great - Daniel Dae Kim (Lost), James Remar (RED) - to hammy - Johnny Messner (Bad Ass) - to just awful - Katia Winter (Sleepy Hollow).

So a mixed bag. But you don't watch this for the acting. Fight!


The fight scenes are well choreographed. Most of the effects are practical which is nice. And there is a fair amount of them. They are pretty gruesome and gory. Again, Lutz does well at this.

It's very much a beer movie, and a pretty enjoyable one. While some of the supporting cast struggle to act their way out of a paper bag - and some are only there to show flesh - the action is good, and film is directed well, with it continuing pace from about 10 minutes in, to the final reel.

So grab a drink, and watch Kellan Lutz punch people. With swords and stuff.

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