Previously, on Pro Wrestling Movie Club: Triple H became obsessed with pickles and no-sold a bullet to the abdomen in Inside Out.
Now last week, I promised a review of 12 Rounds, starring John Cena. But wouldn’t you know it, the Blu-Ray I got from my local library was scratched to hell and would not play. You could say that … I couldn’t C it. So, it’s onto another random selection in the WWE Studios catalog!
This Week: Bending The Rules (2012)
Tagline: “Justice Has One Small Problem: Them.”
WWE Superstar: Edge
Also Starring: Jamie Kennedy, Jessica Walter, Jennifer Esposito
Synopsis: A district attorney is determined to take down a corrupt New Orleans cop. (via IMDB)
Watch It: Netflix [currently unavailable] / Amazon / YouTube
Bending The Rules opens with the introduction of Edge’s character, Nick Blades, strolling through the French Quarter the morning after what appeared to be a particularly good party. He’s decked out in beads, a garish shirt and clashing shorts, and doesn’t seem to have a care in the world beyond maybe finding some aspirin to dull his headache.
We then learn Nick is a cop, as he takes down a low-level bad guy named Gil who is running by with a rolled-up newspaper and being pursued by some ski-mask-clad baddies of his own with guns drawn. Nick de-escalates the situation by offering said gun-toting criminal a hug, and they flee. (Must not be Bayley fans.)
This opening scene is meant to communicate to the listener that this movie is a comedy, but if you weren’t convinced yet, then please enjoy the presence of Jamie Kennedy, alleged “funnyman,” who is cast in this movie as the straight man to Edge. It’s a bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for ’em.
So Jamie Kennedy pops up as Theo Gold, an assistant district attorney who is gunning for the DA job and is currently in the midst of trying a New Orleans police officer on corruption charges. That officer? None other than Nick Blades! Although it’s never really explained as to what Nick did that warrants corruption charges, it’s clear Theo wants him locked up. Unfortunately, the jury is at a deadlock and the judge tosses the case out.
At this point, Lucille Bluth shows up — or, more accurately, Jessica Walter, playing Theo’s mother, Lena Gold, but really just playing her character from Arrested Development all over again. (This is in no way a bad thing, as she is the highlight of every scene she is in for the rest of the film.)
So, here’s the hook: On the same day Theo loses his police corruption case, his wife leaves him after a 15-year relationship — on his birthday, no less. His last words to her: “I’m sorry. Please remember to put the cover back on the hog.” This is probably in reference to a motorcycle he owns which we have yet to see, but part of me thinks it’s a sneaky way of promoting safe sex to the WWE Universe. Be a star, cover your hog.
Now we get the first instance of “cops eat donuts LOL,” a repeating motif throughout the film. Nick heads over to interrogate Gil about the cryptic message he discovered inside the newspaper he confiscated from Gil, but somehow, Gil is no longer there! It is literally never explained how he broke out of jail (or if it was, it was during the 15-20 seconds my wife was using the blender to make her protein shake this morning and I was too lazy to rewind).
In the meantime, on the way home from court, Theo gets pulled over and harassed by some cops, resulting in a tazing caught on tape. Here’s how you know this is a work of fiction: Instead of trying to cover their body cameras and destroy the evidence, police instead purposely record their violent attacks against an innocent person on a camcorder and then watch their assault back at headquarters over and over. Hilarious!
(Also, here’s how you know the movie was made before 2016: There’s a “when the Cubs win the World Series!” joke told by one of the officers at the precinct. #FlyTheW, y’all!)
So it turns out what I heard earlier as “the hog” is actually “the Hawk,” a Studebaker Golden Hawk, a classic car belonging to Theo’s dad that has been stolen out of Theo’s driveway. Theo reports the car as being stolen but of course, the police don’t give two f*cks about him, since he tried to put one of their own in jail. (This is conveyed by not only the tazing but the constant tazing-related puns said by literally every cop in the movie, which, honestly, is kind of great in a Becky-Lynch-puns sort of way.)
Of course, the only cop who doesn’t have beef with Theo is Nick, for some reason (even though the dude tried to get him thrown in jail). Nick meets up with Theo and asks him if he knows who Gil is. As both men get into Nick’s ridiculous, bright orange monster truck, Theo says no, and asks if he should.
Smash cut to the two men driving down the highway and Nick just starting to tell Theo about Gil. Are we to presume they got in the car, drove through a residential area, got on a highway and then at that point is when Nick began explaining who Gil is to Theo? I mean, sure, why not?
So it turns out that the cryptic message in the newspaper was actually a series of license plates (one of which was the Hawk), which was actually a hit list created by someone named Willy Van Bieber, who is currently on death row because of Theo, facing imminent execution. His crew is coming after all the informants and killing them one by one, and it appears Theo is next.
The pair go to investigate one of the guys whose car is on the list, Ed Mackie, and conveniently, he works as a martial arts instructor. His students intervene so he can flee, which then results in Edge picking up a little kid and putting a gun to his head to get through the crowd and also results in Mackie getting murdered outside by someone posing as a traffic cop. (Or maybe it actually is a traffic cop, and this corruption thing in the New Orleans PD runs deeper than we think. We don’t actually know, because the movie does exactly dick to explain it.)
Then, Nick and Theo get kidnapped and taken to a donut shop. The first thing out of Edge’s mouth is a donut order. Because cops, get it? But somehow the guy who kidnapped them is actually on their side, and is also probably on this hit list, because apparently all these people were FBI informants which helped put Van Bieber in jail. Sure, okay.
Nick takes Theo to a barbeque joint then to a sandwich shop in quick succession, first to look for clues as to what the sh*t is going on but also because he’s a hungry man. Theo starts to break down, yelling out, “My family is gone, my career is shit, my mother is insane and my father is dying!” In response to Theo’s outpouring of raw emotion, Edge puts him in a fireman’s carry then handcuffs him to his truck. WWE babyfaces, everybody.
The pair end up tracking Gil to a trailer outside of a driving range, but the baddies get away — and Theo accidentally shoots Nick in the process (’tis but a scratch, however). They then head back to Theo’s parents’ house for a birthday dinner and movie night with Lucille Bluth and Lieutenant Bookman, Library Cop from Seinfeld (aka Philip Baker Hall). There is literally a murderer out there trying to hunt and kill Theo, and we’re sitting here eating cake.
About this time, Gil takes someone named Royalyn Wohl hostage and forces Nick to meet them. Then Rosalyn pulls a gun and kills Gil. I honestly have no idea who Rosalyn is, but through a lengthy chunk of dialogue, she reveals her backstory: Willy Van Bieber is her father, and she is killing people on his behalf. (Except the only death we saw in the movie was at the hands of the traffic cop, so IDK WTF she’s talking about.) Officer Garcia (Edge’s sorta-love interest who we meet briefly earlier in the movie) then pops up to stop Rosalyn, and gets shot in the chest because of it.
All of a sudden a gigantic firefight breaks out, with dozens of men appearing out of nowhere, all carrying machine guns and shotguns. It is pretty unclear who any of these guys are except for the dude who owns a donut shop, who is there killing folks too. Literally everyone dies in this shootout with the exception of the main characters.
Rosalyn somehow survives and pulls a gun on Theo, but is then gunned down from behind by Nick. Officer Garcia pops up, too: She had a bulletproof vest on, making her the smartest character in this movie. Somehow, Theo figures out where the Hawk is (through a bizarre monologue about his father that truly makes zero sense), and Edge and Jamie Kennedy finally rescue the car from the top of a parking garage, where it had been parked all along. It wasn’t ever even stolen! You’d assume this would be the end of the movie, right?
Nope! All of a sudden, the traffic cop from earlier in the movie shows up and slams his truck into the Hawk, firing on Theo and Nick. They then crash the Hawk into his truck, apparently instantly killing the bad guy (the name and actual affiliation of which we never actually learn, though it’s presumed he, too, is on Van Bieber’s payroll).
The Hawk is totaled, but our main characters live to see another day. The pair ends up in front of internal affairs a day later to discuss their adventure, and Theo — who previously has always played by the book — fibs ever-so-slightly to help get Nick off the hook. I guess sometimes you just have to bend the rules, amirite?
Side note before I let y’all go: What the f*ck does the tagline for this movie mean? “Justice has one small problem: Them.” That implies that Edge and Jamie Kennedy are trying to impede justice, when in actuality they’re the only goddamn ones trying to put a stop to this killing spree. Baffling.
So! We’ve reached the end. In Pro Wrestling Movie Club, we have three specific questions that must be asked at the conclusion of each film:
1. Is The Movie Objectively Any Good? It’s almost good, in a dumb sort of way. I laughed more than I thought I would, and even though there are some pretty bizarre holes in logic, I didn’t hate myself for having watched it.
2. Is The WWE Superstar Any Good In It? This all depends if you find Edge’s brand of humor enjoyable. Adam Copeland has great comedic timing, good improv skills and impeccable deadpan interjections, as anyone who watched and loved The Edge And Christian Show would attest. He was the highlight of the movie for me, for sure.
3. Would I Be Embarrassed To Have A Friend Find A Copy In My Blu-Ray Collection? I mean, probably, but moreso because of Jamie Kennedy on the cover than anything else.
Next Week: I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news: I’ll be reviewing Dead Man Down, starring Colin Firth and Wade Barrett.