Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

The Condemned

Illustration for article titled The Condemned


• Being exploitative, violent trash

• Hypocritically preaching at length about how inhuman and evil it is to watch exactly this kind of exploitative, violent trash


• Basically being Battle Royale, but not as creative

Defender: Director/co-writer Scott Wiper

Tone of commentary: Eagerly technical. Wiper goes into close detail about no-fill lighting, color timing, long lenses, and the flaws and benefits of the specific high-def camera he used. He frequently boasts about his lighting design and continuity, and identifies special effects while emphasizing over and over that everything was raw and authentic: "No bluescreen, no greenscreen, everything you see is real. The island is a real island." He also smugly proclaims that he used no stock footage.


What went wrong: The island where the beach scenes were shot was far from Australia, and the actors couldn't have trailers or other comforts; Wiper repeatedly describes his process as "filmmaking at its most lean and its most dangerous." Also, it was impossible to find proper-sized stunt doubles for 7-foot-tall Nathan Jones or bulky "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, so Wiper had to find "miniature versions of both."

Comments on the cast: Austin "[left] his ego at the door" by admitting he hadn't acted much, and requesting guidance: "I've been getting hit on the head with folding chairs for 10 years… guys like Russell Crowe, Al Pacino, and Robert De Niro, what makes them so good?"


Inevitable dash of pretension: Too many to count. Highlights: "This fits with the theme of unapologetic." "The island has the dichotomy of beauty and death." "When you get into color timing, sometimes you have regrets, but if you want that theory, you have to live by the sword, die by the sword." Plus many references to the way he echoes Sam Peckinpah, Sergio Leone, the Rodney King beating, and more.

Commentary in a nutshell: "Any of the explosions are 100 percent real and 100 percent in-camera, just like they did in the '50s, '60s, and '70s. And I guess the '80s too… I wanted all of the explosions to have that feeling of nostalgia and authenticity."


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