Knockout Anne Wheeler

Knockout Anne Wheeler
The artist formerly known as "Stone Cold" Steve Austin is, shall we say, not a great actor, but at least he's aware of his limitations. In Knockout (a direct-to-video Karate Kid rip-off you'll probably see), Austin plays a journeyman boxer turned high school janitor with the same pokerfaced expression and gravelly monotone in every scene, but in case you think I'm putting him down, keep in mind that when you're forced to deliver a line like, "The kid's got one thing you and I never had: heart," a bare-bones acting style might be advisable. Sure, Austin is stiff and a little awkward, but his nearly comatose underplaying, combined with his massive physical presence, gives him a strange charisma. And, folks, take it from a guy who has seen more direct-to-video movies with professional wrestlers than he cares to count: a wrestler turned actor who sticks within his range is a wrestler turned actor to be admired. Oh, and the rest of Knockout? You know it by heart: a nerdy kid (Daniel Magder) who wants to be a boxer arrives at a new school, is picked on by a bully, trained by the janitor, etc. The cinematography is drab, the score sounds like elevator muzak and there isn't a single surprise to be had, but the acting is okay, the story hits its marks efficiently and the whole thing finds a baseline of porridge-flavoured competence. It's exactly the type of nothing that gets made by filmmakers who know you'll never see it. (Phase 4)