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The Stranger
DVD disk
Jun 7, 2010 By: Aaron the H
The Stranger order
Director:
Rob Lieberman

Actors:
Steve Austin
Adam Beach
Erica Cerra

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A strange, large man (Austin) suffering from a strange [and likely made up] form of amnesia joins forces with a psychologist to solve the strange mysteries of his past, while fighting with crooked cops and strange Russians. Or something like that.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Itís probably not a good thing when the most interesting part of a flick is the cheap, gimmicky 3D picture on the box. I hate to kill all the suspense straight-away, but I genuinely canít find a single good thing to write about this film. Iíve seen more than a few awful straight-to-DVD ďaction filmsĒ in my time-- most starring the likes of Steven Seagal, Bruce Campbell, and sadly as of late, Val Kilmer. But while those three have one or two small things going for them-- half-decent action, the so-bad-its-good factor, and occasionally tolerable acting-- Steve Austin in The Stranger is so unbelievably bland and mundane, that I can barely remember what I just watched.

Steve Austin burst onto the WWE scene right around the time I started to outgrow professional wrestling. He had nothing to do with that, as I always thought his ďStone ColdĒ demeanor combined with his take-no-shit attitude made him pretty bad ass. But Jesus H. Christ, only now that Iíve seen him ďperformĒ in The Stranger do I truly understand the source of his ďStone ColdĒ moniker; the man has the emotive range and acting ability of a frozen rock. Iíve been known to take a crack or two at Steven Seagalís acting in my day, but Austin makes him look like De Niro. I know- I canít believe it either! The long under-appreciated Adam Beach (Flags of Our Fathers, HBO's "Big Love") is the only thespian of note in this film, and itís a sad site to see him here, as the man is good-looking, charismatic, and capable of so much more. He deserves better.

But lets get back to Austin and more importantly, the action. That is why we watch these things, isnít it? Well, perhaps as a result of 15+ years spent in the ring, or due to the tiny production budget, or maybe just because Austin decided to launch his film career at the ripe old age of 46, his fighting skills in this film are shockingly limited. A small handful of burly punches and a few waist-high kicks are pretty much all we get out of the big man. I woulda settled for a few piledrivers or even a suplex, but whoever stunt coordinated this thing had the imagination of a baboon, and clearly forgot about Austin's wrestling roots. I've literally seen more engaging action in student films.

As far as story, itís pretty typical of straight-to-DVD fare. Pretends to be more clever than it is by way of pointless, repetitive flashbacks (edited with seizure-inducing quick cuts to disguise the fact), along with needless plot twists that donít rely on logic or any common sense, and of course, a couple Russian baddies thrown in for good measure. Iíve spent far too long talking about this film.

I expected a bit more from the director of Fire in the Sky.
THE EXTRAS
Behind the Scenes (5:56) - This is a comical special feature, if only to hear the director heap praise on HIMSELF, and his ability to create a compelling climax and how he was hired because of his "notable skill with actors". Maybe it was because he'd work for pennies and sell his soul? This guy deserves a junk punch.

Also comes with the filmís trailer, which does an adequate job of preparing us for how crappy this film is. Oh and the trailer ends with the laugh-out-loud last shot in the film. Awesome.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
In several scenes of this film, the camera just shakes randomly, likely to keep the viewer from falling asleep. When I was 18, I worked on a low budget action movie featuring Coolio and Tone Loc and the dude that played Highlander on TV. That was twice the film this is. Should I keep going?
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