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Review: The Reunion

What’s ironic about The Reunion is that its plot, though it revolves around a kidnapping set in Mexico, seems blind to current events.

The Reunion
Photo: Samuel Goldwyn Films

Mike Pavone’s The Reunion, like three prior WWE Studios films, stars John Cena, a human action figure from which the studio has reaped some of its highest box-office returns. This time Cena plays Sam, a cop on suspension for body slamming someone and who is reunited with his two brothers—Leo (Ethan Embray), a bail bondsman, and Douglas (Boyd Holbrook), a criminal the ladies love—from other mothers after their father dies. Before they can collect their inheritance of three-million each, their sister, Nina (Amy Smart), lays down the rules of the ring: They must first work together for two years as business partners, a forced family-focused theme the The Reunion hopes to win audiences over with in lieu of blood and guts.

Their business together quickly takes the form of an adventure down to Mexico, where a con the obstreperous Leo fronted money to is suspected of fleeing to after kidnapping a wealthy businessman (Gregg Lee Henry). The three brothers subsequently become three amigos during a stretch of action-comedy dullness, scenes of such tepidness that you might wish the brothers would lose each other, their bro banter and lack of chemistry obliterated by a Gerry-esque void of silence and meaning. When Douglas, recently out of jail, bangs a lead out of a stripper, the brothers meet Theresa (Lela Loren), an old friend of the con they’re chasing and their guide through a foreign land, a scenario that allows The Reunion to reinforce its view that men are stray dogs who require a woman’s guidance—a cliché made tolerable only by the fact that both Smart and Loren’s scenes tend to be the least grating.

What’s ironic about The Reunion is that its plot, though it revolves around a kidnapping set in Mexico, seems blind to current events; tame as it is, the action in the film is completely forgettable in such a comparison. Importing WWE’s brand of hokey fighting—the most memorable scene, during which Cena jumps from a ledge onto a helicoper, recalls in-the-ring rope-jumping than anything else—into a place where there is an alarming amount of real bloodshed seems unnecessary and somewhat imperious.

Cast: John Cena, Ethan Embry, Michael Rispoli, Boyd Holbrook, Amy Smart Director: Mike Pavone Screenwriter: Mike Pavone Distributor: WWE Studios and Samuel Goldwyn Films Running Time: 95 min Rating: PG-13 Year: 2011 Buy: Video

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