When I was watching the trailer of Arena movie I did not expect to see something special, it looked like 300 and upcoming Immortals mix movie flavored with undeground fights. But when I started watch movies itself Arena turned to mix of Saw and cheap Gladiator movies and stay in the same row with such films like Death Race, Death Match, Condemned etc. Also I must say it made in popular film style which began with Spartacus TV series.
Twilight star Kellan Lutz playes fire fighter who loses his pregnant wife (Nina Dobrev, another vampire star) in a terrible car accident. Despondent and severely drunk he winds up in a Mexico bar with the intention of drinking himself to death. While flashing a wallet full of cash he attracts the attention of a corrupt bouncer who attempts a robbery in the bathroom. After making quick work of the hulking attacker, David is drugged and kidnapped only to awaken a prisoner and unwilling contestant in an underground fighting tournament.
Samuel L. Jackson is the biggest name in the cast and he plays his role of ‘Controller’ in a larger than life theatrical performance. Why Jackson is in this movie is a mistery for me and for a lot of people for sure. He is good in everything he does, but needs to choose movies more carefully. Look at teens idol is good for girls, but mix it up with class A actor playing is a very bad idea, teens will lose this fight. Also producers got Daniel Dae Kim as another kidnapped sword master, who likes to talk with main character and killed by him as a rookie (why so quick?).
Kellan Luntz is like Taylor Lautner in Twilight appears shirtless for nearly the entire running time and obviously cast for his physique, but I sure there is a lot of other actors who could play this caracter much better, especially if fight choreography made by young popular martial artist Arnold Chon, who previously worked with Michael Jai White on Blood and Bone and Black Dynamite martial arts movies.
There was a tribute to Rambo films when Luntz character sews up his wounds in total conscious. Hopefully Arena’s authors did not go futher when Rambo carefully pushing the metal out of his body, then tears apart a bullet and pours the gunpowder into the open wound!
Director Johan Loop pushes the violence, gratuitous gore and frontal nudity to the limits, production looks expensive enough to have played theatrically, but was released straight-to-DVD. This movie has a potential but probably with another cast and budget. Anyway this is an entertaining action film which will find its fans.
…ending is surprising, so wait until it or just fast forward.