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[on the betting off contests by participarts who watch events on camera]
Romans had the collsium... we have... reality TV
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After watching many of the "Next Action Star" reality TV eps TiVo taped this gawd-awful tripe for me. For some bizarre reason - and I only have myself to blame - I watched the whole thing, hoping that there would be *something* unique in the entire movie. After so much hype about Joel Silver's "Midas Touch" with action flicks, he might want to make sure he bones up on his alchemy.
First, the only redeeming value of the entire film was Billy Zane, and even he couldn't lift the slipshod writing out of the crapper. Having said that, Zane's performance falters about 2/ 3rds of the way through, as he doesn't even seem to know what else to do other than look smug.
Can't blame him here, though. The writing, quite frankly, sucked. Let's take ideas from "Rat Race," "Enemy of the State," "Terminator," "Midnight Run" and any bad gambling film you can think of and simply rehash it. And who's brilliant idea was it to have TWO bridge chase sequences in a ROW?
Sean Carrigan, the "man of the hour" of "The Next Action Star" shows all of the strengths and weaknesses the casting directors mention during the entire run of the series. A one-note johnny, Sean plays the dumb good looking jock very well, but struggles with shouldering the weight of the film. Quite frankly, we never quite seem to care about whether he lives or dies by about mid-way through, as Carrigan fails to provide a reason for the audience to even like him. His dumb-but-lucky routine gets old as there really isn't anything about the character to root for.
But Carrigan is a dream compared to the wooden, rigid Corinne Van Ryck de Groot. Did Howard Fine really tell her to pretend to be a Terminator for the first half of the film? I don't think so. I kept expecting her to quote Arnie. Her character "performance" can be compared only to the dramatic depths of "Freddy Got Fingered," though not nearly as well-developed. The camera loves her in dark, shadowy limousines, but in the harsh light of day her demeanor sucks all energy off the screen. Jeanne Bauer showed more natural life in her five minute bit part than Corinne showed at any part of her screen time.
Ultimately, Sean has the rugged good looks to provide a good lead in an ensemble cast, but shouldn't have been left to do this one solo. It was simply too big of a task for him. "Next Action Star" colleague Jared Elliot may or may not have had better luck with some more dynamic characterization, but it's hard to tell given Jeff Welch's lame script. Someone should take Welch's iMac away from him before he hurts himself or anyone else. And finally, Van Ryck de Groot simply was outclassed and way out of her reach, even for complete shlock like this.
Joel Silver should be ashamed.
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