Most people don’t take professional wrestling very seriously… and those people often wind up taking a clothesline to the face. I was surprised when I made the personal realization there’s a lot of crossover between professional wrestlers and some very good action films. Wrasslers have repeatedly demonstrated their prowess at choreographing film fights on the fly, and much like Hong Kong’s famed martial artists they’re willing to take a convincing punch or two while the camera is rolling. Still don’t believe me? Rob Reiner’s The Princess Bride showcased a great performance by Andre the Giant. The greatest street fight in American cinema was fought between Keith David and Rowdy Roddy Piper in John Carpenter’s They Live. More recently, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, has become an integral part of the ridiculously immortal Fast saga, and is currently the highest paid star in Hollywood. Dave Batista has also won audience and box office approval as Drax the Destroyer in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.
Weekly wrasslin’ on TV and at county fairgrounds across America might be a cheesy fight-centric soap opera, but it’s had an undeniable role in shaping American action film culture. Can WWE Studios’ The Marine 5: Battleground honor the cult legacy of films like They Live and Jeremy Lin’s Fast franchise?