Wednesday, May 26, 2010

THE STRANGER

Pro wrestler-turned-movie star "Stone Cold" Steve Austin (THE CONDEMNED, THE EXPENDABLES) headlines the low-budget actioner THE STRANGER (2010), new on DVD next week from Anchor Bay.

Austin plays an amnesiac asskicker who wanders the country trying to remember his past, all the while hunted by the FBI and the Russian mob. His only ally is a beautiful psychiatrist (sexy Erica Cerra, EUREKA) who wants to help him remember the traumatic experience that messed up his mind and made him a target. Once that memory is recovered, though, only revenge will remain....

Rather blandly directed by television veteran Robert Lieberman, THE STRANGER is an average direct-to-vid action flick that looks like a TV movie and lacks real juice. Austin and Cerra's performances are both adequate, but the film is talky, predictable and takes itself too seriously. It wants to be THE BOURNE IDENTITY, but it just doesn't have any style or energy in the action scenes. Even a mid-film car/motorcycle chase feels slow and lethargic, despite the obvious attempt to liven it up with choppy editing and shaky camerawork.

Anchor Bay's DVD presentation is up to their usual professional standards, with a pristine 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer of what appears to be a digital video source, digital 5.1 audio, a short behind-the-scenes featurette, and trailer. A solid, if unspectacular, package. (It does have a cool lenticular cover, though.)

It's better than the last DTV wrester/action movie I watched, but not by much. If you're a stone cold fan of mister Austin, you may want to give it a rental.

BUY: Stranger