The Reunion: Film Review

Samual Goldwyn Films
Latest effort from WWE Studios is pinned to the mat.

The latest film from WWE Studios once again showcases one of their stable of popular wrestling stars, John Cena.

NEW YORK -- There’s one thing to be said about WWE Studios -- they’re consistent. Every one of their movies designed to showcase their stable of popular wrestling stars has been a critical and commercial disaster. The latest example is The Reunion, a lame action-comedy that seems ready made for undiscerning late-night cable viewing. This John Cena starrer receiving a token theatrical release provides further evidence that perhaps films are not the company’s forte.

Once again, a talented supporting cast has been rounded up to support the headliner. Here they include Ethan Embry, Michael Rispoli and Amy Smart, with the latter at least having the good sense to disappear from the picture early on.

The plot involves three estranged brothers -- surly suspended cop Sam (Cena), sarcastic bail bondsman Leo (Embry) and heartthrob ex-con Douglas (Boyd Holbrook) -- who are informed by their sister (Smart) that their recently deceased father has left them millions, on the condition that they go into business together.

Do they do the easy thing and open a car wash or convenience store? Nah. Instead, they head to Mexico (New Mexico, photographed to good effect by Kenneth Zunder, substitutes) to track down one of Leo’s errant clients and wind up becoming involved in the rescue of a kidnapped millionaire (Gregg Henry).

Writer-director-producer Mike Pavone (until recently the executive vp of WWE Studios) attempts to throw some social commentary into the mix, with the kidnapper being an embittered entrepreneur (Rispoli) who has some choice things to say about the modern state of capitalism.

But mainly the proceedings revolve around the expected action sequences, leavened by attempts at comedy, that fall flat in both areas. Needless to say, Cena is an imposing physical specimen, but after this and such previous efforts as 12 Rounds and The Marine it may be time for him to concentrate on the ring.   

Opens Friday, Oct. 21 (Samuel Goldwyn Films)
Production: WWE Studios
Cast: John Cena, Ethan Embry, Michael Rispoli, Boyd Holbrook, Gregg Henry, Lela Loren, Jack Conley, Amy Smart
Director-screenwriter-producer: Mike Pavone
Executive producers: David Calloway, Lori Lewis
Director of photography: Kenneth Zunder
Production designer: Raymond Pumilia
Costume designer: Claire Breaux
Editor: Marc Pollon
Rated PG-13, 95 minutes