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Review of Legendary

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating


Review of Legendary

Patricia Clarkson stars as Sharon Chetley in 'Legendary'

Van Redin/WWE Studios
John Cena returns to the big screen for the third time as the star of a WWE Studios project. In his first two films, The Marine and 12 Rounds, he was the lead of an action movie that was involved in a very similar plot both times. For this film, both John Cena and WWE Studios went outside of their comfort zone. Legendary is a family drama where amateur wrestling both caused the separation and later the reunion of a family torn apart by a terrible tragedy.

The Acting

Since you are reading this review on a wrestling site, I'm assuming that the first thing you want to know about is John Cena and his role in the movie. The first thing you have to know about him in this film is that he is a supporting character and that Devon Graye is the central character in the film.

The good news for John Cena fans is that his acting skills have drastically improved and that while he was limited in what he did in this movie he did make his dramatic scenes count. In The Marine, his acting skills were ridiculously overshadowed by those of Robert Patrick. In 12 Rounds, I said felt that he could hold his own with the actors. In this movie, he was believable in his role and helped make some of the scenes better. While he still has a long way to go before becoming the next Dwayne Johnson, at least he is showing some significant improvement.

As far as the rest of the cast goes, Patricia Clarkson is a great actress that always delivers. Devon Graye did a commendable job for his first lead in a major film. The only disappointment I had as far as the acting goes is that Danny Glover was criminally underutilized in this film. It wouldn't surprise me to find out that his character's part and role in the film were totally determined by his schedule.

The Plot

After a tragedy has split his family apart, Devon Graye's character, Cal Chetley, turns to amateur wrestling to bring it back together. His mother is not too thrilled by this because she felt that she already lost her first son due to the sport. To add to the tension, Cal has sought out his long lost brother behind his mother's back and has asked him to be his trainer.

The plot takes a bit from quite a few sports movies and tries to combine all those sports cliches into a new film. However, the movie comes across as a Frankenstein containing parts of Rudy, Vision Quest, and The Karate Kid. Whereas those movies are legendary in the sports film genre, I can't see this film living up to that lofty goal the title of it suggests it wants to be.

Overall Recommendation

While this isn't a movie we will be talking about for generations like the prior three I mentioned, it is still a movie that has some very good qualities and will leave you feeling good when you walk out of the theater. It did tell a powerful story about the power of brotherhood and how love and support from your family can turn your life around.

Overall, this movie comes across as something made for the Hallmark Channel instead of theaters. That is probably one of the reasons why it is running as a limited engagement. Since it is not playing everywhere, I wouldn't recommend going out of my way to get to a theater if it isn't playing near you. If it is playing near you then it wouldn't be a bad choice to take the family to. Please note before taking your family to the movie that the film is rated PG-13 for suggestive materials, brief partial nudity, and some fighting scenes.

I give this a solid thumb's in the middle. If you do spend your money to see it in the theaters I think you might be pleasantly surprised like I was. However, if you miss this in the theaters you really aren't missing too much. I would however make it a point to check out this movie once it becomes available on DVD or cable TV.

Disclosure: This review is based on a screening provided by the studio. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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