Once upon a time Vinnie Jones ‘played’ football, but now he’s a full-time actor flogging what’s left of his ‘hardman’ persona in straight-to-DVD ‘thrillers’ stateside. Without wanting to over-simplify his body of work to date too much, and do him a massive disservice by summing it up in one sweeping statement, everything he’s done has been uniformly appalling. Guy Ritchie has a lot to answer for, but at least he seems to have taken the hint and stopped making rubbish ‘gangster’ films.
(Wow, that’s probably the most sarcastic apostrophes I’ve ever used in a single paragraph).
Never to be deterred however, our Vinnie has today caught my eye by co-staring in yet another terrible American remake of an old-and-actually-quite-good Asian movie, The Condemned. Playing second-fiddle to someone who used to in the WWF (wrestlers, not pandas) is normally a pretty big red flag, but since it’s Stone Cold Steve Austin, we’ll make an exception, because he’s pretty cool. Other great acting luminaries that show up include the girl who used to play Dee in Neighbours (remember, she had a great rack and died after marrying Toady?) and that guy who was AK in the two awful Matrix sequels…exciting, no?!?!
Anyway, Stone Cold plays JACK CONRAD (sorry but it’s a name that feels like it needs capitals) who is awaiting the death penalty in a corrupt Central American prison (obviously) when he is bought (yes, bought – this is the near-dystopian-future after all) by a wealthy TV producer and taken to mysteriously desolate and deserted island. ONLY IT ISN’T ACTUALLY DESERTED! But you probably guessed that didn’t you. Predictably, here he must fight to the death against nine other condemned killers from all corners of the world, with freedom the prize to the sole survivor. Vinnie plays the token Brit with aplomb, bouncing off the A-list cast like a natural:
Stone Cold: “Sounds like you’ve had a hard life.”
Stone Cold: “Good thing it’s over.”
Apparently however, Stone Cold and Vinnie became quite a double-act on set, often riffing and playfully challenging each other to fights when the cameras weren’t rolling. Vinnie referred to Stone Cold as “number 1,” and Stone Cold called Vinnie “number 2,” in reference to their advertised billing, but the real fun came when an impromptu prank war started. Highlights include: Stone Cold constantly leaving inflatable sex dolls in Vinnie’s trailer (presumably from his own private collection), and also wallpapering the ex-Wimbledon man’s trailer with signed photos of himself. Like I said, Stone Cold is actually pretty cool.
I guess the point of this article is basically just to urge everyone to seek out this cracking WWF Films production (hot on the heels of this equally-genre-redefining masterpiece See No Evil, starring the Undertaker’s brother Kane) and luxuriate in what is surely Vinnie’s finest on-screen performance to date. Sure, Stone Cold steals the show but what else would you expect from a man who has guest-starred in more than four episodes of Nash Bridges?
Finally, without spoiling the ‘ride,’ here are a couple more choice excerpts to whet your appetite:
The guy from the shit Matrix sequels: “What you doing in El Salvador?”
Stone Cold: “Working on my tan.”
The guy from the shit Matrix sequels: “Why did you blow that building up?”
Stone Cold: “It was blocking my sun.”
And get ready for some serious Pulitzer Prize bait:
The guy from the shit Matrix sequels: “Where you from originally?”
Stone Cold: “Alaska.”
The guy from the shit Matrix sequels: “Whereabouts in Alaska?”
Stone Cold: “A little fishing village…you probably heard of it…it’s called FUCK YO MOMA.”