W.C.W. was a wrestling promotion that famously butted heads in the 90s with the W.W.E. The two brought out the best in each other by encouraging each other to push the envelope, creatively and technically. Only one could dominate, and due to W.W.E.’s inventive use of provocative content, and questionable choices by their opponents, W.C.W. was on the ropes. In 2000, a year before the franchise folded, the promotion attempted to reverse their fortunes with a film dedicated to the passion of wrestling and showcasing their talents. This asked fans and newcomers are they Ready To Rumble?
Gordie Boggs and Sean Dawkins love wrestling, particularly wrestling superstar Jimmy King (not to be confused with the Emmerdale character), a medieval theme wrestler who is dominating the promotion. When King gets screwed out of his title by his Machiavellian manager, the duo do not take this lightly. During their darkest low, they end up causing an accident that costs them their jobs. Seeing it as fate, the two decide to help the star reclaim his glory by any means necessary. Will they stay true to their quest or will temptations and real-world pressures thwart their attempts to get justice?
A slick Hollywood picture about the sport of wrestling is a cool idea, and this is by no means the first time Hollywood and wrestling have fused. Ready to Rumble wisely utilises the W.C.W. roster fully with Diamond Dallas Page, Sting, and even Goldberg showing up. Every audience-facing aspect of W.C.W. is shown off, from the elaborate matches to the iconic battle call of Michael Buffer, serving as the film’s title. As well as the eye candy of the Nitro Girls also gets an examination, with a subplot involving Gordie’s relationship with fictional (but plausible) Nitro Girl, Sasha, portrayed by Rose McGowan. Of course, the film does not rely exclusively upon the roster of the W.C.W., bringing in some of its characters. Oliver Platt is certainly believable as King, a medieval-themed fighter, who has a colourful personal life. Although the arguable height of the film is the wonderful Martin Landau as Sal Bandini a heightened take on legendary wrestling trainer of the past.
Outside the wrestling ring, we have the wild world of our protagonists, Boggs and Dawkins, played by David Arquette and Scott Caan respectively. Arquette is also a big fan of Professional Wrestling adding some real-world authenticity. As the saying goes, they are not the sharpest tools in the shed. Their ineptitude helps in fuelling their antics. The majority of which usually involves faecal matter (the two are sewage workers after all). From road trip antics to helping King get back on track, their hijinks go a long way in emulating the comedies of the era. The almost eccentric personalities that are met outside of the wrestling ring, help to make sure that humour is varied. Notably, Boggs father, who does not like the past time of wrestling and wants his son to take up the family business of policing. The bright colours help give the film a certain comic charm, added with the occasional dream sequence to bring a heightened charm that is symbolic of Professional Wrestling.
Ready To Rumble is a comedic clash, done in the style of contemporary comedies to make an energetic take on the sport. One of the biggest names in wrestling right before the domination, and a showcase of legendary wrestlers to boot, a valid vehicle to show non-wrestling fans what the fuss is all about. It is silly, goofy, and a tonne of fun. Ready to Rumble comes to the ring, the only stipulation is comedy.
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