Mickey Rourke gives the performance of a lifetime as pro wrestler Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a former superstar now paying the price for twenty years of grueling punishment in and out of the ring. But he’s about to risk everything to prove he has one more match left in him: a re-staging of his famous Madison Square Garden bout against “The Ayatollah.”
After the slew of truth-based professional sports star sagas that have come our way over the last few years, you may feel like you’ve seen them all. The Wrestler, however, is a cool change of pace. It follows Randy “The Ram” Robinson (Mickey Rourke), who used to be a professional wrestler, but now barely makes ends meet as a grocery store employee. When things seem like they can’t get any worse for “The Ram,” he gets a second chance at wrestling as well as a chance to make up for past mistakes with his daughter. Due to his strange alternative lifestyle, Randy Robinson’s main focus in the love department is a stripper he used to know named Cassidy (Marisa Tomei). Will “The Ram” be able to get back in shape in time to take down his old nemesis at what could be the most important match of his career? With his primary focus on what he loves, Robinson will have a tough time balancing it all, along with making things right with the two most important women in his life.
Mickey Rourke has wowed us with films like 9 1/2 Weeks and Wild Orchid for decades. He’s a favored actor by directors like Robert Rodriguez and Tony Scott. Rourke displays how hard he’s worked throughout his career with the roughness of his physical appearance. From romance to action and suspense, all the way to washed up, The Wrestler is just what Rourke needed to bring him back into the spotlight.
Although some of the plot was about as well rounded as Tomei’s nipple rings in the film, the simpleness of the dismal journey of Robinson is what keeps you interested. Watching The Wrestler felt like a new age tale similar to Rocky, the typical feel good movie that could motivate the laziest being. I don’t necessarily agree that it was Oscar worthy, but Rourke definitely went above and beyond portraying the grueling abuse and pain that a professional wrestler goes through. There were a few scenes where I cringed just a tad. I would say that this film should be in the year’s top 20.
If you need any proof to my theory of the return of Mickey Rourke, keep an eye on him in 2009 & 2010. He’ll be the villain in Iron Man 2 opposite Robert Downey Jr. and he’ll also be appearing in Sin City 2 and Rambo V. Those all take a back seat unfortunately, due to Sylvester Stallone’s tough guy packed, action extravaganza, called The Expendables. That film, also starring Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, and Eric Roberts is the reason I have chosen to go on existing for a couple more years.
Special features on the Blu-ray release include a digital copy of the film, “The Wrestler” music video written and preformed by Bruce Springsteen, and two features taking a look a the truth about wrestling from a number of Hall-of-Famers as well as a look at going one-on-one with wrestlers and filmmakers. Not bad, but I was hoping for deleted scenes and more behind-the-scenes looks at the filming.
Review by Charlie Giltenboth
Official site: http://www.foxsearchlight.com/thewrestler/
Buy on Amazon: The Wrestler