"10 will fight, 9 will die. You get to watch."The Condemned
is a 2007 film that tells the story of Jack Conrad
, an American convict waiting in death row, as he, along with 9 other convicts from different countries, is brought to an island by television producer Ian Brecket, who plans to pit them in a competition where they must kill each other, so that the last one standing after 30 hours gains freedom.
The Condemned contains the following tropes:
- Advancing Boss of Doom: Jack turns into this for Ewan in the last stages of the games, specially when he kills Saiga without barely any effort. It's so bad that Ian orders a shotgun to be given to Ewan to "even" things out.
- Bald of Awesome: Jack.
- Big Bad Ensemble: Ewan McStarley and Ian Brecket.
- Broken Aesop: The film makes a major point that a program where convicts fight to the death is inhumane and cruel, though the marketing capitalizes on that exact point, especially with the tagline. It becomes funny when you realize that this was made by two companies who are known for their violence (Lionsgate, which is known for the Saw franchise and WWE, a wrestling company) and that the leading actor is best known for being the poster boy for the Attitude Era.
- Chekhov's Boomerang: The manual detonation capability of the explosive anklets is used repeatedly throughout the movie.
- Combat Pragmatist: Excluding Paco and Rosa, all the convicts. However, McStarley really shines on this one.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Ian Brecket. A media magnate that creates an In-Universe Real Life Deadly Game (with the express goal of having it get higher ratings than the Super Bowl) for the money and possibly the ennui, doesn't gives a damn about the horror he unleashed, points out the hypocrisy of modern-day Media Watchdog mentality on an televised interview, strangles Goldberg to death when he confronts Brecket, and plans to escape the island leaving the entire filming crew to be arrested when he gets confirmation that the authorities know where they are, plus showing some favoritism for McStarley and Saiga, only to toss the former under the bus as well, not that it was such a good idea. Everybody, even McStarley, is sick of him by the film's end.
- Dark Action Girl: Yasantwa. Also a Femme Fatale.
- Deadly Game: It's the idea of the film, actually.
- Deconstruction: Of Deadly Games of the likes of Hunger Games and Battle Royale. If the Condemned took place in those settings, nobody would bat an eye as the Deadly Games in those settings are also televised (though for different reasons. Heck, some people even get excited for them), but since it takes place in the real world, almost everyone is disgusted with the concept, even if it's people who are on death row instead of youth fighting to the death. It also shows what would happen if someone other than the government ran the Deadly Game and the consequences of favoring one competitor.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Jack.
- Explosive Leash: The explosive ankle bracelets on the titular condemned, which will explode when time runs out, they are attempted to be removed without the proper key, or you pull a small red tab on it, after a 10 second countdown. They also have GPS trackers to keep tabs on the contestants, but Jack manages to spoof that later in the movie.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Goldman, who's increasingly sickened by the violence of the show and by Ian's indifference to it.
- Evil Is Petty: Ian gives Jack false backstory for insulting him.
- Freudian Excuse: Played with. McStarley mentions he was raped while serving time in an African prison. However Jack calls it out mentioning that doesn't excuse all the atrocities he committed. Also, it's hinted he was lying in order to making appear himself more sympathetic to Jack.
- Genius Bruiser: Jack.
- Hate Sink:
- Ewan McStarley. Sure, he's not above torturing, raping and killing in cold blood other participants and Ian's crew, but he's actually no better than most of the participants anyway, who are convicts waiting in death row for horrendous crimes.
- Brecket pulls plenty of weight in this role as well (especially In-Universe), being a sociopathic Smug Snake that cares only about the game's ratings and anything that can help with enhancing them (even demanding that Rosa's rape and subsequent death be filmed as best as possible, saying that it's what audiences want and rambling about how it was "manufactured" like any other Reality Show).
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Excluding Goldman and Julie, both Ian and his crew are killed by the men that they themselves brought to the island.
- Immoral Reality Show: "The Condemned" is an In-Universe Real Life Deadly Game. The fact that it's online-PPV-only is a small nod towards the fact that nobody would dare broadcast a show like this in TV in real life. Still, it gets the ratings Brecket wanted (higher than the average Super Bowl) by the end.
- It's All About Me: Ian. And he certainly has no problem tossing anybody under the bus to keep himself out of jail, alive and reaping in the millions.
- It's Personal: Until that part of the film, Jack only cared about finding a way out of the island, refusing to participate in the game even when Paco asked him for help to kill McStarley and Saiga in revenge for killing Rosa. However, once he sees Paco being killed after being tortured by Ewan and Saiga, he finally accepts participating in the game.
Jack: "I'm in."
- Kill the Cutie: There's a horrible scene of a woman being raped and killed (behind a tree, for what that's worth) while her husband was forced to listen. Wikipedia shows the character of Rosa (played by Dasi Ruz) to have "stood by her man during the duo's merciless killing spree, which landed her a seat next to her husband on death row. Charges of prostitution flesh out her mile long rap sheet." Nevertheless, it was one of the scenes which established The Dragon.
- Knife Nut: McStarley and Saiga both gain knives during the games. However, Saiga is more than excited about his knife.
- Large Ham: McStarley at times, with much aplomb by Vinnie Jones. Including a brief A God Am I slip while he machine guns the whole filming crew.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Ewan killing Ian's crew, who were enjoying seeing the games and the convicts's deaths and suffering quite a lot. He even adresses it while killing them. Ewan himself also is hit by this, being killed by Jack immediatly after it.
- Manipulative Editing: Not a direct example (the feed is never touched), but still. When Jack refuses to tell Brecket the reason why if he in jail, Ian immediately orders for Jack to be given a false backstory as a member of The Klan and your typical crazy militant redneck, plus providing Ewan and Saiga with supplies more often. Brecket also wanted a Multinational Team of convicts for the sake of ratings, raging about not being able to get an Islamic extremist convict (to attract Middle Eastern audiences) until he saw Jack fight.
- Murder.com: Aptly, "The Condemned Dot Com". With live video access. Credit card only.
- My Master, Right or Wrong: After a failed attempt to confront Ian, Goldman keeps this view. However, once Goldman sees that Ian's gonna betray everyone, he takes a more physical confrontation, which, unfortunately, doesn't end well.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Jack gives one to everyone he fights.
- Not So Different: Ewan attempts this with Jack, however, it doesn't work. However, considering the events, Ewan was probably just being sarcastic.
- Oh, Crap / Why Am I Ticking?: The reaction of all the contestants when the explosive anklets are first triggered.
- Sociopathic Soldier: McStarley. His Establishing Character Moment is having his criminal file read, which mentions him being guilty of war crimes, including rape and wanton slaughter.
- Reality Has No Subtitles: Several of the characters don't speak English (ex. Saiga). They don't get subtitles, but you can get some understanding of what they're saying from context.
- Red Shirt: The Italian convict. His screen time is both his reaction to having an Explosive Leash attached to his ankle and boasting how he's going to "eat" everybody on the chopper... and then he gets impaled on the remains of a boat when dropped from said chopper, right when the game officially starts.
- Retired Badass: Zigzagged. Jack is officially retired from the Army, but he still did unnoficial jobs for them until his prison.
- The Scapegoat: Jack.
- Title Drop: Both the name of the Pay-Per-View website with the game's feed and the final speech by the reporter that interviewed Breckett ("Are we the condemned?").
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: Ewan, and to a lesser extent, Jack.
- Villain Team-Up: McStarley and Saiga. However, it's more of a Teeth-Clenched Teamwork, as both aren't exactly happy working with one another.
- Villainous Friendship: Goldman and Ian. However, it's one-sided on Goldman's part, as Ian only cares about the money.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: While Paco and Rosa are both mass-murderers, they both only try to find each other during the games, even running away from other participants.
- Your Mom: When being interviewed, Jack tells Brecket that he comes from an Alaskan town, "Fuck Your (Ian's) Mom".