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April 16, 2011

Movie Review: Ultimate Death Match II (2010, MVD Visual)

Anyone who knows me well enough knows that I love professional wrestling. I've been following the likes of The Missing Link, Abdullah the Butcher, Bruiser Brody, Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper and so many other superstars since I was six years old. Wrestling captivated me as a youth. It doesn't so much now but I still have a great time watching it. A few months back when I was doing an entry for our Cinema Head Cheese "Movie Burrito" column I did a review for Shawn Cain's Ultimate Death Match. I wasn't terribly kind. It just wasn't what I had expected. Cain's done a sequel, but this time he's attempted amp it with quite a bit more talent from the wrestling world - even with some of my personal favorites (Raven, Kevin Nash and the returning Al Snow). Is it an improvement? Most definitely.

Buy Ultimate Death Match II on DVD

The premise is essentially the same as the original. Shawn Cain plays Jake, the moderately slimy owner of a wrestling company that has an "Ultimate Death Match". The gimmick here is an interesting one - someone is going to die or get maimed by the likes of UFC legend and former WWE star Dan "The Beast" Severn, Shane Douglas or other brutes that desperately want the ten million-dollar cash prize. The acting hasn't improved much here, but it's the world of professional wrestling. Amazingly though, the writing is much better. Al Snow sounds so much better calling the matches. It really takes on the feeling of hot Pay-Per-View show in sense with a much better backdrop...and even a crowd!

Most importantly, the quality of wrestling by the participants just that much more entertaining to watch (right down to the amateur and indie wrestlers). We even get to see more high-risk moves from wrestlers like Kid Cash in what translates to a fairly impressive opening Battle Royale amongst nine other eager performers. Some of the old-school superstars that I grew up on (Brutus Beefcake, Shane Douglas, Kevin Nash, Jimmy Valiant) added that much more to some of the nostalgia.

If you're a wrestling fan I recommend you picking this up just for the fact that you get to see these guys and other current and former wrestlers doing their thing. Hopefully Cain can stick to the formula that made Ultimate Death Match II the surprise it is.

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