Pro Wrestling Movie Club: Mr. Kennedy Fires Up ‘Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia’

Previously, on Pro Wrestling Movie Club: John Cena wore two — two! — cowboy hats in The Reunion.

This Week: Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia (2009)
Tagline: “Framed. Abandoned. But Never Defeated.”
WWE Superstar: Mr. Kennedy
Also Starring: Joe Manganiello, Channon Roe, Yancey Arias
Synopsis: Navy SEALS mount an attack on Colombian special forces to clear their names and rescue a hostage. (via IMDB)
Watch It: Netflix / Amazon / YouTube

It may come as a surprise to anyone unfamiliar with WWE’s dark years (aka 2005-2009), but there was a time when Ken Anderson was considered the next big thing. Mr. Kennedy, as he was branded by WWE, won the U.S. Championship just a year into his main-roster run; he feuded with the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels; he had frequent title shots for the World Heavyweight Championship, ECW Championship and Intercontinental Championship; he even won the Money In The Bank briefcase at WrestleMania 23.

Kennedy also had a nasty, Wade Barrett-esque string of bad luck, suffering injuries at the most inopportune times — like, for example, just weeks after he won his Money In The Bank briefcase, he injured his triceps muscle and was out for a few months, causing the briefcase to be shuffled to Edge, which eventually resulted in Edge’s first of seven World Heavyweight Championship reigns.

When he returned from a dislocated shoulder that kept him sidelined for eight months, Kennedy was quickly put back into the main event scene via a 10-man tag including the likes of John Cena, Randy Orton and Batista — and then a mere 96 hours later, he was released from WWE, allegedly because of Orton’s complaints about Kennedy’s unsafeness in the ring.

The point of all this is to say that had the coin landed on the other side a few more times, Ken Anderson could be a multi-time WWE Champion and Hall Of Famer already, or maybe even Drax The Destroyer in Guardians Of The Galaxy. As it stands, he is just another wrestler on the outs with WWE — but at least he has Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia on his resume.

The third installment of the Behind Enemy Lines series begins with a surprise birthday party for Lieutenant Sean Macklin (played by Magic Mike‘s Joe Manganiello), the leader of SEAL Team 7. That’s right, SEAL Team Seven. Take that, guys who compromised Osama Bin Laden to a permanent end! We meet his best buddy, Master Chief Petty Officer Carter Holt (Mr. Kennedy), who is full of wisecracks and cold beers.

All seems well in SEAL land, but not so down in Colombia, where Colombian military officer Alvaro Cardona (Knight Rider‘s Yancey Arias) is strolling down the street with his wife and son when suddenly, a building suspiciously labeled USA BOOT COMPANY blows up. Cardona’s family dies instantly. FARC is blamed — no, not the prehistoric content-aggregation website, but the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, abbreviated as FARC after you translate it into Spanish. Cardona seeks revenge, and is told by his general to do whatever it takes to get it.

In the meantime, SEAL Team 7 is sent out to Colombia to see just what is going on by Commander Scott Boytano (played by the always-working character actor Keith David), making Boytano the only person to appear in more than one Behind Enemy Lines movie. (He was also in Behind Enemy Lines II: Axis Of Evil. I know this not because I have seen it, but because apparently, this film series is taken very seriously by some people.)

The next few minutes could be from literally any military film in the past 30 or so years: We get a whole lotta military jargon, the classic tumbling-out-of-a-plane scene, the team floating down the river en masse and disarming booby traps along the way. The SEALs then invade a secret military installation clandestinely to see just what is going on, only to discover it’s a peace accord between FARC and the Colombian National Army, overseen by the same general we briefly see earlier. Only the meeting goes sour, Red Wedding style: Cardona shows up with a Colombian special forces squad and wrecks house, killing just about everyone — and then comes after Seal Team 7.

The best part of this whole battle scene is undoubtedly when Mr. Kennedy chucks a grenade and yells, “GRENAAAAADE!” as he does it. Never one for subtlety, that Kennedy.

As the SEALs retreat, two of them get killed, but they’re never given any names, so who gives a sh*t, right? It is made very clear, though, that Mr. Kennedy has the biggest gun out of any of his teammates, and that he’s also a certified badass, breaking a baddie’s neck with ease (gotta keep him looking strong). Out of the remaining three SEALs, one, Kevin (played by Channon Roe from Boogie Nights), gets captured, so now we’re down to just Macklin and Holt, who are hellbent trying to rescue their buddy and get payback. (Man, Mr. Kennedy would kill to be on the Payback card now.) Even though 60 percent of their team is either dead or imprisoned, we still get plenty of wisecracks from Mr. Kennedy’s Holt, which somehow still feels totally in character.

Commander Boytano orders the duo to abort any rescue mission and make their way to the emergency evacuation point, which they agree to do (sorry, captured guy!), but then right as the rescue copter is near landing, it suddenly gets called off. The reason? The Colombian special forces took the video footage the SEALs shot on their mission and doctored it to make it look like they executed everyone at the peace talks earlier, making the Colombian government verrrrrry mad at the United States.

So the Colombian army invades the evac zone but Macklin and Holt are able to fight all of them off. There is an especially hilarious hilarious sequence where the pair run into a barn, find a Jeep (with a random “SAY NO TO DRUGS” sign hanging up behind it) and start driving away only to have an RPG launched at them. What follows is a brief imitation of the classic rear-view mirror scene in Jurassic Park, only someone forgot to use spellcheck:

We check back in with Kevin, who is still imprisoned. Cardona brings him a bag of food from McDonald’s but refuses to untie Kevin’s hands from behind his back, so he can’t eat any of it. Forget waterboarding: That is truly torture. Somehow, Kevin manages to use the tinfoil from the sandwich wrapper to cut himself free, MacGyver style. He then marks the outside of his cell with the SEAL Team 7 symbol so they know where he is located (because apparently he just assumed they’d come back for him, even though minutes prior they were about to jump on a helicopter and get the hell outta Colombia).

Lucky for Kevin, Mr. Kennedy and Joe Manganiello arrive! How exactly do two men break someone out of maximum-security prison in a third world country? I’m glad you asked: We get the antecedent of the ghost tractor, the ghost Jeep, which Mr. Kennedy pushes into their compound then chucks a bunch of grenades into for maximum distraction (and destruction).

A firefight ensues, and the duo manage to bust Kevin out. The plan now is to head to a local hospital (er, excuse me, local medical facility) to locate the Colombian general, who was the only one to survive the attack earlier in the movie, because he could vouch for the SEALs as not being the ones behind the murders. As the trio enter the hospital’s parking deck, they leave their stolen car right next to a tractor. Is this how the ghosting powers were passed onto Bray Wyatt’s House Of Horrors? Could Mr. Kennedy be the key to the whole damn thing? The truth is out there. Wake up, sheeple.

At this point, a whole bunch of sh*t happens in really quick succession, but all you really need to know is the general says he can’t help them unless they can provide unaltered video evidence, so off the remaining SEALs go to another base where a whole lot of things blow up and a whole lot of bad guys die, some in spectacular fashion. (I particularly enjoyed the scene where Mr. Kennedy, who apparently is a master sniper, out-snipes the bad guy sniper by shooting him through his riflescope and into his skull). They end up recovering their video packs with the unaltered footage, then have a chat with their boss to find out just what, in fact, Commander Boytano would do if he were here right now. Unsurprisingly, he would make a plan and he’d follow through, that’s what Commander Boytano would do.

After Commander Boytano hypes them up, the trio do a full-on Shield fist-bump a few years before the Shield even debuted— and now all I’m doing is just fantasy booking Ken Kennedy in Roman Reigns’ place. It could work! Maybe?

As the SEALs make plans to meet the general to turn over the video evidence, they run into the Colombian special forces yet again. We then get a dope-ass knife fight between Macklin and Cardona, including a knife going right through Macklin’s hand. The tide turns, though, and Macklin is about to kill Cardona when the general shows up and reveals the whole thing is a double cross. It turns out the general was working with Cardona to wipe both the FARC leaders and the Colombian army leaders who wanted peace, but then it’s revealed that the general was also responsible for the bombing that killed Cardona’s family, too. This results in a Reservoir Dogs-esque end scene where everyone shoots everyone else — except the SEALs, of course, who live happily ever after, except for their two teammates who died already. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

So! We’ve reached the end. In Pro Wrestling Movie Club, we have three specific questions that must be asked at the conclusion of each film:

1. Is The Movie Objectively Any Good? Maybe I’m just a sucker for a good blow-’em-up military flick (spoiler: I am), but honestly, Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia was a legitimately enjoyable movie. I was as surprised as anyone. But considering some of the garbage I’ve watched as a part of PWMC already, this would be the only thing I’d even consider rewatching.
2. Is The WWE Superstar Any Good In It? Mr. Kennedy totally holds his own as a wisecracking, gun-toting Navy SEAL, and I’m honestly surprised he hasn’t been in any movies since this one. I don’t expect Hollywood to call him all the time, but man, there’s a whole straight-to-DVD action-film industry out there that could use someone like him.
3. Would I Be Embarrassed To Have A Friend Find A Copy In My Blu-Ray Collection? Nah, dogg — the DVD has multiple commentary tracks! There’s value in that. (Right?)

Next Week: I watch Queens Of The Ring, a French comedy that somehow features CM Punk, the Miz and Eve Torres. I’m about as ready for it as you are.