A fireman from Denver, David Lord (Kellan Lutz) all of a sudden gets into a car crash with his pregnant wife. The wife dies, Lord survives, and becomes an alcoholic. One night, a mysterious girl seduces him in a bar, and after a night with her, Lord wakes up in hell.
By “hell”, I mean some facility, where many others like him are forced to participate in these brutal no-holds-barred gladiator-like fights to the death. All this is being broadcasted online to the paid members, and the whole system is being ruled by SLJ (Samuel L. Jackson himself!).
Now, Lord doesn’t know where he is, he is forced to fight, however he believes he still can get himself out of this, and proposes SLJ a deal – if Lord wins 10 fights in a row, he goes free.
Knowing no one has ever won a much as 5 in a row, SLJ agrees, and from there on its a non-stop fighting with lots of blood, severed heads, and so on. And, there is a twist at the end, but it’s revealed so quick, its really unimpressive.
This movie reminded me of the infamous b-movie action films of the 90′s, except here we have somewhat solid actors (Samuel Jackson, James Remar), but the movie formula remains the same.
This is also the first film I’ve seen Kellan Lutz in, and he looks quite impressive. Now I understand, why producers wanted him for the new “Conan”, he’s got the looks, and his acting would do just fine in the right movies.
As for Samuel L. Jackson, I can see why he accepted the part – his character enjoys himself throughout the whole film, he gets to say all the cool lines, gets to kiss the girls, and so on. James Remar has a small role as a federal agent.
Two more actors that should be mentioned here are Derek Mears (yes, the one who played Jason Vorhees in the latest “Friday 13th” movie), and Johnny Messner who plays a “punisher-like” character, who finishes off the defeated gladiators after the fight. The guy’s got a great voice, he should definitely do some voice work.
So, to sum it up, this movie doesn’t have any martial arts in it, but there are plenty of fights, and they’re gory. Very gory and brutal. If this is your cup of tea, give it a look.
This is not a “martial arts, arena-bloodsport” type of a movie, so if you’re looking for that, skip “The Arena”. If you still can’t decide, watch the trailer below.