Friday, 26 July 2013

Film: Clip Joint - Wrestlers who act

When the stars of the squared circle try their hand at cinema, the results can be mixed.

They may have made their names by dressing up in spandex and pretending to hit other men, but professional wrestlers are some of the most engaging performers in the entertainment world.

Some of the industry's biggest stars have made the transition from the squared-circle to the silver screen, with varying degrees of success – and quality.

Here are five of the most memorable films starring professional wrestlers – can you think of any others? Let us know in the thread below.

1. Mr Nanny

It's odd to think that a man who looked constantly sunburnt and sported a bleached Fu Manchu moustache could be such a hit with the kids, but Hulk Hogan was a huge star in the 80s and 90s, when Hulkmania ran wild across the globe.

Hogan's film credits read like an essay in naffness: Suburban Commando, Santa with Muscles and 3 Ninjas: High Noon at Mega Mountain were bad enough, but none of them compared to the sheer horror of Mr Nanny.

Mr Nanny worked on the same premise as Kindergarten Cop: if you take a big muscly man and get him to look after children, hilarity will ensue. It didn't.

2. They Live

Like Hogan, 'Rowdy' Roddy Piper was a massive star in the 80s. Whereas Hogan was a hero to kids, Piper was a bad guy who was more comfortable on the microphone than in the ring. With his trash-talking and sardonic wit, Piper was a popular draw with older audiences.

In John Carpenter's cult sci-fi thriller They Live, Piper's acting was subtle and gritty. The film's a fascinating, if somewhat outlandish, story about aliens using advertising to control the minds of the masses.

3. Kes

British wrestling fans will have known him from his days as World of Sport's Leon Aris, but Brian Glover's role as the overbearing PE teacher Mr Sugden in Ken Loach's Kes helped him make the transition from wrestler to character actor.

Drawing on his experiences as a teacher and a wrestler, and with his thuggish demeanour and gruff delivery, the role was a natural fit.

4. The Princess Bride

Andre the Giant plays Fezzick the giant, a companion to one of the film's most bombastic and roguish characters: the swordsman Inigo Montoya. The casting was perfect.

5. River of Darkness

It's bad enough when wrestlers try to act, but it's even worse when a wrestling company turns its hand to making movies.

WWE have produced some spectacularly bad straight-to-bargain bin releases, including The Chaperone, starring Triple-H, and Knucklehead, starring the Big Show. But nothing that WWE has done comes close to the efforts of TNA, whose horror film River of Darkness reaches Troy McClure levels of cheesiness, and features a cast of former top wrestlers including Kurt Angle, Sid Vicious, and Kevin Nash (the latter also played Super Shredder in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze).

The film is so bad that it scored a paltry 2.1 on IMDb - even Tommy Wiseau's The Room, regarded by many as being one of the worst films ever made, scored 3.3.

This article was originally published by the Guardian.

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