Bending The Rules

I don’t understand WWE Studios’ business plan.  Dropping most of their movies in just a few theatres for a few weeks, then immediately dumping them on home video shortly thereafter has not been a sound strategy, especially when you realize the poor quality and limited commercial appeal of many of these releases.

Consider Bending The Rules.  Heavily promoted in early 2012 on WWE’s weekly prime-time wrestling shows, it’s a failed vehicle for former world champion Edge, a painfully inept formula buddy comedy with no laughs and a nonsensical crime story.  It is the second worst film WWE has ever released.  (No One Lives is holding tight at number one.)

In the film he plays Nick Blades, a charmless, thoroughly corrupt Louisiana cop who dresses more like a tourist than an officer of the law.  He’s so blasé about not following the rules that he walks into court wearing his usual Hawaiian shirt and shorts (without being reprimanded by the judge) just before Assistant DA Theo Gold (a thoroughly miscast Jamie Kennedy) delivers his closing argument against him during a trial.  (Like this would ever happen in real life.)  Blades is more interested in a newspaper he just confiscated from a running perp he tripped out on the streets of New Orleans than anything Gold has to say.  (The jury ends up being deadlocked and Blades temporarily gets off the hook.)

Gold is having a particularly bad birthday.  Besides losing the case against Blades, he gets dumped by his materialistic wife of 15 years, he gets passed over for a promotion, his beautiful 1956 red Studebaker goes missing (he wrongly thinks it’s been stolen), his nostalgic, retired movie star mom (Jessica Walter) keeps bothering him about his dad’s supposed infidelities, and at night, he gets pulled over by cops who proceed to record him getting tazed.  (They later laugh as they watch their self-made torture video in their precinct.  Fucking sadists.)

When Gold’s senile, paranoid dad (Peter Baker Hall) locks himself in a bedroom with a gun in the middle of a delusional state (he keeps seeing his dead brother), the frustrated attorney finds Blades already there in his parents’ home comforting his mom promising to get to the bottom of her husband’s non-existent affairs.  (Blades is supposed to be on administrative leave because of the corruption charges (Internal Affairs is still investigating) and could use that 200 bucks she’s offered.)  They soon team up to look for his prized Studebaker (since the police who collectively hate his guts can’t be bothered) while Blades uncovers a preposterous murder scheme involving that confiscated newspaper and a notorious death row inmate with the ridiculous last name of Van Bieber.

Curiously unexplained is why he’s on death row in the first place (I presume it’s because he committed capital murder but no victim is ever mentioned) and how he’s able to relay coded newspaper messages to the outside world from a maximum security facility completely undetected by the authorities.  (The guy Blades steals the newspaper from is mysteriously released from police custody before there’s a chance for interrogation.  But finding out who allowed this to happen leads to more confusion.)  All we know about Van Bieber is that he’s part of some notorious gang and he wants his loyal associates to off some people, mainly FBI informants and Gold, the prosecutor who got him convicted.  Shouldn’t he have had this taken care of before he was found guilty?  Some criminal mastermind.

It’s hard to warrant any affection for either Gold or Blades.  The former, a soon-to-be-divorced dad of two, supports the death penalty and is generally very annoying while the latter, a divorced dad of one, openly admits to skimming from cash forfeitures (to support his estranged daughter he barely sees) and assaulting without apology.  (He appears allergic to warrants and orders from his cranky superior.  Not that he’s ever really punished for his numerous transgressions.)  He also refers to a black, ski-masked gunman as an “ape”.  Inevitably, they hate each other for much of the film until the very end when all is resolved.  Does this change of heart mean Gold will not re-try Blades on corruption charges?  What do you think?

Whenever you see a classic car in a film, the odds of it getting absolutely destroyed are astronomically high, so it’s no surprise what horrifying fate awaits that glorious Studebaker, an apt metaphor for any poor sap who watches this car wreck of a comedy.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
3:22 a.m.

Published in: on April 20, 2016 at 3:22 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. […] Thief, The Heat, Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension, No One Lives, Night Of The Creeps, Bending The Rules, The Last American Virgin, Bloodsport, The Last Exorcism Part II, Killer Klowns From Outer Space, […]

  2. […] Born In East LA and Identity Thief.  Then, in April, I hammered the little-seen WWE production Bending The Rules featuring the retired Edge and the decidedly unsexy horndog fiasco The Last American […]

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