After watching the execrable Valhalla Rising straight through to the end, I needed something to get that bad art taste out of my head so I watched the last half hour of The Stranger.
PASS: The Stranger (2010) – Rated R for violence and some language.
“When amnesia robs a man (professional wrestler “Stone Cold” Steve Austin) of everything — including his family and his own identity — he is confounded after discovering that he is wanted by the feds and Russian gangsters. But he is not willing to succumb to the present until he reclaims his forgotten past. In the meantime, that means dodging bullets and backstabbers and figuring out whom he can trust.”
It probably is not fair for me to say too much about The Stranger as I only saw the last half hour. I can say that after seeing Valhalla Rising, I was prepared to be quite generous to the Stranger.
You would think the last half hour of an action flick would not be boring. You would also think that coming in for just the last half hour with only a plot outline to guide me that I would be confused. TV director Robert Lieberman proves me wrong on both counts.
Is there a more hackneyed plot device than amnesia? The only one I can think of would be the evil twin I suppose.
If you want a good amnesia movie, go watch Memento, currently available on instant Netflix.
The last half-hour of this movie apparently recapped everything from the first hour in flashback so I did not feel lost.
What I did feel was bored. The acting was indifferent at best. The action sequences had no life to them.
Hint to Steve Austin and any WWE players out there that want to break in to movies: Make sure you hire a director who can show off your fighting skills in the proper light (for instance Isaac Florentine) and spend the money to grab a couple of good supporting actors to help you.
Normally I would rate this avoid but since I only saw the last half hour I am being generous and giving it a pass.
People Watch: The only other name actor in this is Adam Beach (Law & Order SVU and pretty much any film or show that had a native American role). Unfortunately he is almost as wooden here as Steve Austin.