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A former bounty hunter who finds himself on the run as part of a revamped Condemned tournament, in which convicts are forced to fight each other to the death as part of a game that's broadcast to the public.
Bending the Rules certainly isn't going to win any awards and it probably won't win over the critics, but it's an enjoyable film that simply doesn't make the most of its potential.
Adam "Edge" Copeland was impressive in his first film. Though I'm not familiar with his in-ring persona at all, I thought he was very comfortable in his role and could easily have handled more. Perhaps a more serious movie will be in his future. Jamie Kennedy was fine though not memorable, while Jennifer Esposito and Alicia Witt were essentially wasted in small roles. Pruitt Taylor Vince and Philip Baker Hall were excellent in their limited screen time and Jessica Walter did not disappoint, though her character was a bit campier than I was hoping for. Her fans should especially enjoy the scene where no fewer than nine pictures of Walter herself adorn the background. Hall and Walter were perfectly cast and it seems like a film based around the Gold family could be quite a treat - either as a comedy or a family drama.
The biggest problem is that while there are some great funny moments, Bending the Rules is not really funny enough to be a comedy - yet it's too absurd at times for a drama and I was torn between wanting more laughs and wishing it was a serious film. The assembled cast is certainly capable of either and deserved better. I'm giving the film an 8 out of 10 not because it's a stellar film but simply because it's a fun film that doesn't drag and it exceeded my expectations. Some of the film's weakest moments are in the trailer and if the first-day turnout in Memphis is any indication, too many people have written it off based on that alone. That's unfortunate, because the film deserves a better fate. Those shut out by the limited release only have to wait a few weeks for the DVD, which I hope will fare better than the theatrical release.
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