I was walking down the aisles of my Blockbuster video contemplating what bomb to view when I saw Death Warrior. The box cover screamed out to me. You have Quinton Rampage Jackson, George St. Pierre, Keith Jardine, and Rashad Evans starring in a Tapout endorsed movie. It was a movie about people caught up in underground cage fighting. The possibilities were endless. We are talking about something that could be on the level of WWE Big Apple Takedown awfulness. This is a movie where the massive egos of the Tapout brand was screaming out and let loose. Everything that is poser about Tapout was personified here. I just had to see it. Well, it is bad…dear god its bad.
The movie is written and made by Hector Echavarria (the lead actor). Echavarria really is an unknown actor with Cradle 2 the Grave (credited role is “Ultimate Fighter”) being his biggest role. This movie truly is one big ego stroke even Tommy Wiseau could take some notes.
The movie is about Reinero (Echavarria) who is apparently so badass an MMA fighter he would make Fedor his bitch. He is a fighter who has not lost in his whole 20 year career. We start out the ego strokes by light fingering as we see Echavarria being swarmed by big breasted hos all wanting him to sign their breasts and his manager sucking his cock to get him to endorse an energy drink. His wife is also fine with this as we get a Skinamax soft core porn scene showing he truly is the man and on top of the world. The eeeeeeevil Ivan enters the scene, injects his wife with a virus that will kill her in a few days and will only give Reinero the antidote if he will fight in several underground fights to the death. Now I have several issues with this motivation. First, it seems the only real goal is to stage fights in order for rich snobs to make wagers. Couldn’t they just gamble on ordinary MMA fights? I guess you could argue MMA is just not ballsy enough for these guys which leads to my second issue. If you are going to go to the trouble of capturing the best MMA fighters in the world and murdering several people to do it, why just have them fight in an octagon? I mean, why not put em in a steel cage or toss weapons in or do some stipulation. Its kind of like creating a whole new football league because its not tough enough and the only rule you change is “no fair catches” (obligatory XFL joke). My third problem is the bad guy matches up Reinero with someone he was slated to fight next anyway on a PPV. What is the fucking point of kidnapping people and murdering others if you are going to make the same match we would have seen on a fucking PPV a month anyway!!!
Fourth, its later revealed (SPOILER ALERT) that the Dana White character of the movie was the one that sold Reinero out to Ivan. Well that’s f*cking stupid isn’t it. Let’s see, a small payoff for killing your biggest draw in MMA, or keeping him around for years and making lots more money. Hmmmmmmmm which is smarter? Fifth…um…no Chuck Norris? Okay, I’m done with that.
Anyway, Reinero’s first opponent is Rampage Jackson whom he Cena squashes in a minute. Oh and I forgot to mention that before each fight there is a hilarious Mortal Kombat like graphic that shows up like REINERO V. THE WOLF $$$PLACE YOUR BETS$$$ Ivan then has a lengthy talkie scene with Reinero about how “you and I are a lot alike” and blah blah blah blah. I guess it should be noted that the guy playing Ivan is trying for like a half David Carradine/half Al Pacino type performance here. It really is odd. One minute he is all calm talking about the Zen of MMA and purity of the warrior spirit and grasping the pebble from his hand, then the next getting pissed off and talking about a chick having a GREAT ASS!!! It truly is something you have to see to believe.
The next opponent is Sugar Rashad in the only match that kind of has a stipulation. They are in an octagon but in a kind of Texas Bull Rope match. Yeah, they suck in WWE and they suck in a death sport too. Anyway Reinero Cena squashes him in two minutes with a back breaker. A back breaker in MMA!?
I suppose now is as good a time as any to mention the fight scenes. They suck. I guess I should say more. Picture a slightly more advanced version of rock em sock em robots. The fight scenes consist of two people trading haymakers until one falls down. Reinero is “the best” because he does frilly spinny kicks while his opponents stand still in one place, put their hands down, and tilt their chin up. These fights make the one’s in Future War look like Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon.
Next up, Reinero fights a ninja. That’s right. Reinero’s next opponent is honest to god a full blown goddamn ninja. It’s rare I feel shame for people but I feel shame for the writer of this movie. He seemingly has an underdeveloped brain that he must put in plot points that match my short stories in 2nd grade of Mega Man fighting Bowser. What does this movie need? Ninjas, obviously you dumb f*ck! You know what, just have him fight a pirate next. Asshole.
Anyway that match kind of ends abruptly as the ninja (an assassin who does not fight fair by his very nature) pulls out a sword and Ivan shoots him. Why? Because he was not fighting fair.
let’s just move on.
Reinero goes home to find his wife look like a plague zombie from the virus Ivan gave her. She is barely holding on and waiting for Reinero to save her. What does Reinero do? He has another soft core porn scene with her! He has a soft core scene with a girl who looks like a zombie and who had been vomiting in the toilet 10 minutes ago in the movie! Not only do I have to say GAAAAAAHHHH!!! but EWWWWWWWW!!!
Now maybe it was my stupid induced trance I was in but I could have sworn Reinero’s next opponent was a guy called the Russian. Reinero then steps into the ring with Rush St. Pierre. GSP then speaks in FRENCH that he will destroy him. Isn’t he supposed to speak, I dunno, Russian? Now I get GSP speaks French but how come you can’t have him be silent or teach him to say “I must break you.”? Honestly people! Well GSP gets booted through a pane of glass which also impales him as well. Yeah, I don’t get it, f*ck it.
We then get a scene where Ivan captures Reinero’s girl again and wants to rape the plague ridden woman. Double EWWWWWWWWWW!!!
Cutting away thankfully we get Reinero trying to convince others he is being forced to do these fights leading to the heel turn of Dana White.
I have to say the scenes with Echavarria are awful. And no, they are not a “so bad its good” awful. It’s just f*cking awful. This guy is a black hole of charisma with no talent whatsoever. I could say this movie could have been camp awesomeness, but his performance just makes it suck. You need a C or D list campy action star to make this work. You need a Reb Brown or a Jean Claude or Steven Seagal, etc. You need all the hilarity and camp you can get. Instead we get amateur porn level acting. The MMA fighters aren’t much better. You would think with the simple character motivation of “You are an MMA fighter” they could pull it off but no. I feel bad for Rampage who thinks he is going to make it as an actor. His line reads are so stunted and unnatural its like “Hello…Rain. What’s up…in the…hood. Homie? *pause pause pause cheesy Shaq grin*”
Ugh, we then get Reinero running into The Dean of Mean Keith Jardine. In an effort to pad the movie out, Jardine is another fighter being forced by extortion of his girlfriend/sister (not exactly clear in the story) with an explosive collar around her neck. Jardine believes Reinero is the one behind the plot; a misunderstanding that is resolved in two f*cking minutes. Seriously, Jardine corners him and they exchange a few “hands down, chin up” punches and kicks and Reinero says “I DON’T WANNA KILL YOU BRO!” and Jardine immediately accepts this as all the proof he needs that he’s not the mastermind. Holy crap, I’d hate to see Jardine’s character in a screening of The Usual Suspects.
So Ivan captures Reinero AGAIN and tortures him all night to make him weak for his fight against Jardine. Cause we need to make Reinero an MMA version of Jesus I guess. Remember, Reinero died for your sins.
So Reinero and Jardine square off in the octagon and they finally get the bright idea maybe they should just kill Ivan and get the damn antidote instead of playing by his bullshit rules.
So our final fight scene is Reinero and Jardine fighting men armed with submachine guns with their awesome MMA. Soooooo yeah, a lot of people just run up to him with their machine guns, lower their arms and wait for the jumping splits kick to come to them. Ivan decides to take matters in his own hands and kills Jardine. But instead of using a useful gun against Reinero, he instead pulls out a katana and sword fights him. Then a pirate comes out. Ok, kidding on that one, but I’m not kidding about the sword fight. Ivan is a better fighter than most in that he doesn’t wait for the split kick to come to his chin but he still gets decapitated Highlander style.
In the meantime, Reinero’s wife just gets better from her plague…just fuck it movie’s almost over…and she calls the cops.
Reinero is spent after kicking so much ass, passes out, and wakes up in his apartment. He wakes up with his wife over him and he says (I shit you not) “Wow!…You are so beautiful!” I want to thank Stephanie Meyer for that line there. Anyway, Reinero is in no way responsible for the deaths of dozens and we pan away with him the king of all MMA. YAY!
This movie hurt. Like I said, there is a lot to laugh at but Echavarria is so bad that it almost turns the movie into a chore than funny. There are a lot of fight scenes, but I was so f*cking bored with all of them it really didn’t matter.
All I know is, there is another Echavarria MMA movie with Anderson Silva, GSP, BJ Penn, and Heath Herring…and now I have to fucking see it.