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4.0 out of 5 stars really rather fine
Looking back through film history, one finds a long and prestigious line of wrestlers-turned-thespians: including such talents as those of Dwayne Johnson, Jesse Ventura and (without doubt the greatest of all) Hulk Hogan. Sadly Big Daddy never became directly involved with the world of cinema. However, he was to be represented on the big screen by Adam Sandler- in the...
Published on 24 Feb. 2011 by Wayne Redhart

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sad to say it but this is weak
Wow - just watched this - really disappointing. From the opening seconds after hitting play this looked low quality, from the way the fonts on the opening credits look, to the visual effects used in the background - it all said "cheap" to me. I couldn't believe it when the credits said this was a 2010 film, the production and effects looked like something from 10-20...
Published on 4 Nov. 2010 by Andre Mountain


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sad to say it but this is weak, 4 Nov. 2010
By 
Andre Mountain (Lincoln, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Stranger [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
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Wow - just watched this - really disappointing. From the opening seconds after hitting play this looked low quality, from the way the fonts on the opening credits look, to the visual effects used in the background - it all said "cheap" to me. I couldn't believe it when the credits said this was a 2010 film, the production and effects looked like something from 10-20 years back.

Look, I love Austin from his WWF/WWE days but this is a really poor use of him. The story here is that an agent is involved in an operation to uncover a mole and ends up losing his memory, but actually goes into a state where he makes up who he is, along with a backstory, and then every so often that changes, and he thinks he's someone else. This doesnt really get shown in the film though, Austin just comes across as some dumb confused meathead who can't remember what he did yesterday. There are flashback sequences tat knit together as the film goes on and come together in the end, these are not well done though, it's obvious what the end picture is much too early on - it should click into place all in the final sequence - but it's obvious much too early on and you're just waiting for the film - and Austin's character - to catch up to what you've known for at least half the film. This is a low budget, poorly made film - albeit one with a half-decent story - that Austin would have done well to avoid.

I can't think of anyone to recommend this to, even hardcore Austin fans may not be happy with this. It's like a weak, poor, low-budget Bourne Identity but with Austin as the main character. He doesnt even go properly mental in it and open a can of whoopass on anyone, he just gets a bit action-hero on occasions without that feeling of Stone Cold Steve Austin smashing someone up.

Really sad to say it but this is weak and not worth your money.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Quick Reviews!, 29 Mar. 2011
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This review is from: The Stranger [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
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Even though I'm a WWE (and Austin fan) I can't say I had high expectations for this one. Austin and his ilk have a habit of making average action movies which usually come with a decent synopsis and trailer. As you think `this one might actually be good' you are inevitably disappointed. It takes a lot these days to make an entertaining action movie- the fact is that we have seen it all before, especially hardened fans who grew up with the classics of the 80s and 90s. It takes something groundbreaking to really catch our imaginations now, a la The Matrix. That's not to say that filmmakers should stop trying- if you have a decent plot, interesting characters, and a talented case then go for it.

The main issue here is that of the aforementioned trilogy of criteria, each one is only partly met. We have the standard `man with amnesia wants answers and revenge' plot (Bourne Trilogy), we have stock characters with little motivation or background, and we have a cast of mostly unknown actors led by a director who is best known commercials. To say there is a lack of substance would show a lack of critical analysis. So from the start we are shooting for average- anything better would be quite an achievement.

Austin can easily hold an audience when in the ring, but on camera, following a script, the problems mount up. He does his best here, but he isn't in the ranks of Arnie, Stallone, etc. The script is merely a series of words with little flourish laid out so that the plot can reach its conclusion. The only thing of interest is the way that the back story is revealed slowly throughout the movie, although it is done with a lack of skill leaving the viewer bemused or bored. The director doesn't show much flair for action here- the fight scenes are few and far between and don't show off Austin's ability, the gun battles etc are by the numbers. That is obviously the most disappointing part here- you have a man who can do things that most performers can't, but you don't give him the opportunity to do anything. Action movies can (and usually do) excel without much of a plot when the action is solid, but this looks like it was released 20 years ago by amateurs on a low budget. And Lieberman uses that horrible slowed down/sped up/blurry technique which I despise, so after the first few minutes I was already annoyed.

It does get better though, if you can let yourself into the movie's world. Austin tries out a few languages, chases and is chased around the country, and eventually comes face to face with the bad guys. Erica Serra stars as Steve's psychologist and does a good job of teaming with Austin in a subpar role, and there are some fine attempts at twists and turns involving the FBI and some of the characters who we meet along the way. Like Austin, we are not meant to know who to trust or much of what has happened in the past. With a bit more skill and clarity this could have been more entertaining. Overall this is one to catch on TV, or if you are a Rattlesnake fan- 3 stars if you are a big Austin fan, 2 if you are an action fan looking for new thrills.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Undemanding actioner, 15 Sept. 2010
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Stranger [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
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While it's not going to win any awards even from the most easygoing action fans, 2009's The Stranger gets over a bumpy start and some clumsy expositionary dialogue to turn into an efficient and undemanding action movie that does exactly what it says on the tin: allows WWF wrestler Steve Austin to hit a lot of people in plenty of fight scenes. While it's not exactly the most taxing of parts, despite looking at times like Gordon Liddy on steroids Austin's got just enough screen presence to carry the role of an undercover agent with a bad case of the flashbacks who's lost his memory and sporadically moves between false identities while Adam Beach's FBI man and Erica Cerra's psychiatrist try to bring him in, and there's just enough plot to hold the film together between scenes of him hitting people until the drawn out and unimpressive ending. The production values aren't exactly high, with some lazily lit digital photography that unintentionally loses faces in shadow, fairly low-tech action scenes and inconsistent supporting performances that could have benefited from an another take here and there, but as Bourne ripoffs go (and this thankfully doesn't have wildly over the top shakeycam going against it), despite the extremely poor ending it passes an hour-and-a-half surprisingly well if you're not expecting too much.

Anchor Bay's DVD has a reasonable widescreen transfer considering the limitations of the source but is short on extras - just a trailer and a very brief featurette where the director congratulates himself on improving the original ending - which must mean either he's excessively self-confident or that what was in the script was really bad...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Rather bad actually, 16 Nov. 2010
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Klingsor (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Stranger [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
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As many others, I wasn't expecting a good film, and I wasn't disappointed. Predictable (and often confusing) plot, stiff acting and mainly expressionless face of Steve Austin just about sums it up. Only slightly redeeming is Erica Cerra (from excellent TV series Eureka), but even she looks uninspired most of the time. Flash-back after flash-back, a bit of fighting and at least one completely pointless chase don't really help to give a lift to this 'adventure', and instead of a big finale where everything should fit into place, it falls flat like a pancake.
Unless you're Steve Austin's biggest fan and must have every bit of merchandise he produced, stay away and watch any old repeat on telly.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not very good, 28 Oct. 2010
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This review is from: The Stranger [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
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Having been a fan of wrestling, and of course stone cold steve austin, this DVD appealed to me and stood out for that reason, naturally. Steve austin, having retired from wrestling, and staring in lead roles for budget movies didnt exactly surprise me when watching this film, as a famous figure and a legend of wrestling stone cold would of course make a great actor for an action flick, and as it does work due to austin appearance, but the rest of the film does not. The film leaves alot to be desired, aside from steve austins average acting (mostly simple fight scenes and very little dialogue) the plot and the screenplay doesnt seem to work. The acting from the rest of the cast is lacklustre, austins on screen co star is probably the shining light in this film, the rest of the acting, especially towards the end isnt exactly what you would expect from a action movie, but it is what I expected from a budget movie which is basically what it is, so I rate this film 2 stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Low budget and cheap looking thriller., 25 Aug. 2010
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chelios1981 (Glos, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Stranger [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
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Steve Austin stars as a man with no memory who is trying to piece together his past whilst trying to avoid being caugtht/killed by pursuing authorities. So essentially a low rent rip off of other far better movies, such as the Bourne trilogy.

The film is low budget, and the filming style and the look has an air of cheapness about it.

Most of the action is taken up by a few small scale fights, and some gun shoot outs, but that's about it, the rest of the movie is filled with clunky dialogue, and an over use of flash backs, that irritate rather than inform us as to what is going on.

It's a shame because Steve Austin is one of the better action stars to emerge from wrestling, and holds the screen well in these type of roles.

This is his worst outing yet, and whilst not as bad as some other action stars (Van Damme or Seagal for example)straight to DVD output, but this is not a well made film, and a wasted opportunity.
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2.0 out of 5 stars The Boring Identity, 15 July 2012
By 
John Clayton III (Greystoke) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Stranger [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
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Steve Austin is far and away my favorite drunken wife-beating celebrity car crash and he does what's required well enough here, though while it's hardly his fault that the story is a sub-par Bourne Identity retread, he did sign off on playing the part without asking if maybe a grown adult who had spoken with real human people could take a pass at the dialogue, so he does have to take a measure of blame for this getting made in this form, this form being an action film with a budget that comes in several notches lower than an episode of Walker: Texas Ranger and a script to match, though without the occasional fight between the main character and a bear that would at least keep you watching Walker with a faint measure of hope in your heart that things would shortly pick up.
Austin is - shockingly - probably the best performance in this, and that tells you plenty. The action is competently staged, but confusingly edited so it's like characters are randomly shooting at things offscreen rather than at someone or something specific. Fisticuffs are also poorly-realised to the point I wondered why they bothered casting someone used to staging fake fights and didn't just cast a model or something and have them wave their arms at a shaking camera. Austin has done better as a leading man (particularly in WWE-produced action fest The Condemned) and this is a forgettable entry in his short list of cinematic outings.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The stranger is no strange subject, 24 Nov. 2010
By 
Great White "GW" (Leicester, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Stranger [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
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Now I have always loved Steve Austin since his stature was in the WWF (or WWE as it is known now) as Stone Cold Steve Austin. I loved it even more when he starred in The Expendables and now thankfully, he stars in his very own action thriller and yes it is good. Austin proves he has more than the capability to carry an action flick and make himself a believable hero. Ladies and gentleman, let me introduce you to The Stranger. The stranger is best described as a cross between The Punisher and The Bourne Identity, Austin plays an agent who is burnt after his family die in a horrible accident. Not knowing who he really is, he sets about trying to retrace his roots and find out who or actually what he is. All the time he is being chased by the FBI and the Russian mafia who are getting closer and closer to his ever increasing trail of carnage until the final showdown with the person or persons responsible for his family's death. For a man who has lost everything is the most dangerous man of them all and he plans to make them know it every step of the way. This is a decent yet subpar action flick that seems more like a made for TV movie than a blockbusting actioner. Yet Austin still manages to make it a fairly enjoyable movie and shows that he has what it takes to have the capability of becoming an action hero.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear..., 21 Oct. 2010
By 
Mark Philpott "marco772" (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Stranger [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
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I have a soft spot for your traditional 80's style action flicks; even the cheesy ones usually have a certain charm and/or unintentional comedy value.
Sadly, The Stranger had none of these.
A rather convoluted and not entirely coherent plot line doesn't help matters as it's often hard to figure out who the good guys really are and, by the time you do, you'll be so bored you won't care.
Man mountain Steve Austin stars as an amnesiac with amazing survival skills trying to figure out who he is and why he's being hunted.
I like Austin, he has a good screen presence and is charismatic enough to pull off a lead role (i.e. in the far superior The Condemned), but here he is served a workmanlike script and given flat direction.
And that's the movie's main failing, it's criminally dull and uninteresting and very hard to invest in any of the slimly sketched characters. The acting is functional enough, but actors are only as good as the script given to them.

To top it all it has one of the worst directed and shot car chases I have EVER seen! Seriously bad and quite jarring stylistically. The director claims to be very capable in the extras but, going on this evidence, I would have to disagree.

In conclusion, really not worth the effort.
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4.0 out of 5 stars really rather fine, 24 Feb. 2011
By 
Wayne Redhart "@wayneredhart on Twitter!" (West Midlands, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Stranger [DVD] [2010] (DVD)
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Looking back through film history, one finds a long and prestigious line of wrestlers-turned-thespians: including such talents as those of Dwayne Johnson, Jesse Ventura and (without doubt the greatest of all) Hulk Hogan. Sadly Big Daddy never became directly involved with the world of cinema. However, he was to be represented on the big screen by Adam Sandler- in the astoundingly inaccurate and shoddily researched biopic Big Daddy [DVD] [1999]. Anyway, Steve Austin is a tremendously accomplished performer. During his tenure with WWE, it is rumoured that he took a sabbatical in order to undertake three secret months of personal tutelage under the great Marcel Marceau. Very wisely, the producers decided to play to his fortes- by giving him relatively little dialogue throughout the majority of the film. This is a winning formula, which more than confirms the old truism that real acting is not expressed so much through the voice- but rather through the eyes. With this is mind, let it be said that Steve Austin's ability to stare blankly into the camera is absolutely second to none.

While there is much to enjoy here, please be warned that this film is ultimately no "Suburban Commando" or "Mr Nanny"!
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