MOVIE REVIEW: John Cena in “Legendary”
I have a terrible confession to make: I have seen all of WWE wrestler John Cena’s movies. I entitled this review as John Cena in “Legendary” because, let’s face it–100% of the people watching this movie are watching it because John Cena is in it. If John Cena weren’t in it, even less people would care than the extremely precious few that were interested in the first place (as evidenced by the less than half a million dollars this made in theaters).
Unlike John Cena’s previous “hits” (12 Rounds and The Marine), “Legendary” is not an action film. It’s the story of a nerdy high-school boy, Cal, who gets bullied and decides to join the wrestling team to become tougher and to learn to defend himself. (The character inexplicably backtracks later and claims that he joined the team to try to bring his family back together, but the plot says otherwise.)
Anyway, nerd joins wrestling team and sucks. He seeks out his long-lost elder brother John Cena (who was a national wrestling champion) to enlist his help, but his brother is now a washed-up, jobless drunk with no personality and fewer acting skills. Apparently, their father was killed in a car accident and it destroyed the family and caused John Cena to become a bum. Through hijinks involving John Cena’s younger brother interrupting a court hearing and somehow getting the judge to let John Cena off the hook for assault charges, John Cena ends up tutoring young Cal in wrestling.
John Cena’s best advice to his little brother? That if he wants to win wrestling matches, he’ll have to intimidate his opponent. And the best way to do that is to stare ferociously at them during the weigh-in in the locker room while ass-naked to “show you’ve got nothing to hide”. I’ve never been an athlete, but I’m pretty sure that if you go into a locker room full of 40 guys and stare intently at one guy in his underwear while you’re the only one standing around butt-naked, it’s not gonna make that guy fear you. It’s gonna make him think you’re some creepy gay stalker and beat the crap out of you.
But apparently this advice and running laps with John Cena after school works miracles, because Cal goes from wimp to ass-kicker within 3 minutes of musical montage. By the end of the year, Cal is kicking ass and taking names and is inexplicably getting fist-pumped by the guy who bullied him to begin with and who Cal has been a total jerk to and done everything in his power to humiliate throughout the film. They don’t try to explain this change in their relationship in any way, most likely because they can’t and would rather not try.
Major subplot of the movie is that John Cena took off after his father’s death, and his mom has failed to track him down and communicate with him for years. She must not have looked very hard, because John Cena is living a short bus ride away and young Cal was able to get his address and go to his home within an hour or so of deciding to look for him. Long and drawn-out story short: troubled family reunites and bonds over wrestling. Weeeeeeeeeeee!
And like all
good high school movies, there’s a romance tacked on. Of sorts. Cal’s childhood friend, Lori, “grew melons over the summer”. Those are Cal’s words, not mine. The plotline for her character is that she goes around pulling her top off to flash her “melons” to every guy in school so they’ll like her. *crickets* I’m not making this up. Cal, however, refuses to partake of seeing her melons on grounds of having known her too long, though by movie’s end the two are of course romantically involved and Cal is certainly now seeing them regularly.
BUT WAIT!!! There’s more!! Danny Glover must truly be in debt, because he signed on to appear in this movie. Cal encounters him at the start of the movie at the fishin’ hole after being beaten up, and then infrequently runs into him while going out fishing a couple other times in the movie. Danny Glover encourages Cal to keep wrestling, and comes to the final match of the season.
It turns out Danny Glover was John Cena and Cal’s dead father’s best friend who swore to look after the family! Wha-HUH?! In the movie’s closing narration, Danny Glover pats himself on the back for fulfilling his promise to his dead friend and having protected his friend’s family and steered them back onto the right path. Uhhh, whatever. Danny Glover’s either delusional or he just watched another movie, because there’s no indication that he did jack-shit for the family in the 10 years between his friend’s death and the start of this movie.
Overall: I agonized over a grade for this movie. I went into this movie already knowing it
wouldn’t be good. Unlike John Cena’s other movies, which were so over-the-top they were ridiculously bad and fun to watch, “Legendary” is boring and just bad. John Cena’s character has little dialogue and screen-time, and quite frankly, his acting in this movie is wooden and uninspired. There were a couple moments of competence in the writing of this movie that keep it from being a total failure, but I cannot recommend this movie to anyone to watch, regardless of whether or not someone is a wrestling fan or a fan of bad movies.