Previously, on Pro Wrestling Movie Club: The Big Show farted a lot and also wrestled a grizzly bear in Knucklehead.
This Week: No One Lives (2013)
Tagline: “Everyone Runs. Everyone Hides.”
WWE Superstar: Brodus Clay
Also Starring: Luke Evans, Adelaide Clemens, Lee Tergesen
Synopsis: A gang of ruthless highway killers kidnap a wealthy couple traveling cross country only to shockingly discover that things are not what they seem. (via IMDB)
Watch It: Netflix / Amazon / YouTube [currently unavailable]
A big reason why I’ve never seen any WWE Studios movies before starting this series is the heyday of these coming out and getting pushed on WWE programming hard fell right in my WWE dark years, from roughly between 2004 and 2008, when I had lost interest in pro wrestling as a whole and was watching the product very infrequently. But with the rise of CM Punk on Smackdown in 2009, my interest was reignited, and I’ve been watching religiously ever since.
So what’s weird is I literally had zero knowledge of this film at all. I don’t remember anyone from the film guest-hosting Raw; I don’t remember Brodus Clay getting a monster push to coincide with its release; I don’t remember endless trailers playing for it during PPVs. There’s a pretty crucial reason for this, too: No One Lives is rated R. And unlike some movies who get slapped with an R rating unfairly, No One Lives earns that letter. This film is 100 percent a hard R, and given it came out in 2013 (only a month after WrestleMania 29), it’s no wonder it wasn’t promoted heavily on WWE programming, as the product had already been moved back into TV-PG territory for some time now. So we know it’s violent; but is it any good?
No One Lives opens with a mysterious man whose name we never learn (played by Luke Evans, in his final role before lucking into the part of Owen Shaw in the Fast & Furious franchise) driving a luxury car with a giant trailer attached down a backroad with a woman named Betty (Laura Ramsey, who once apparently played a character called Naked Blonde With Sailor Cap in a movie called Somewhere, which sadly is not a WWE Studios production, so I will not get to see it). Their chemistry is nonexistent, but it seems like that is the point. They stop at a motel for the evening, and once settled, he commands her to take her towel off, revealing a big scar on her belly. Things are mysterious.
We get a quick softcore porn scene (complete with female nipples — remember, this is a hard R) before we jump to meet the rest of our cast, including the Funkasaurus himself, Brodus Clay, playing a character named Ethan who appears to be a mild-mannered moving man helping empty out a mansion with his co-workers. But then the family who lives in said mansion get home early, and it’s revealed that these guys aren’t movers, they’re criminals. Before the family can call 911, another one of the crew, Flynn (Derek Magyar from Star Trek: Enterprise), gets all homicidal and murders the entire family in their car, kicking the death toll off at four.
Back to the mystery man (who is referred to as Driver in the credits [and honestly looks a lot like Finn Bálor]) and Betty stop at a steakhouse for dinner — the same place the gang stops. Shortly thereafter, Flynn, thinking they’re easy marks, runs them off the road and steals their car and trailer, tying them up inside an old gas station and leaving Ethan to torture them. But then, shit gets weird: As Flynn goes through Driver’s car, he discovers a woman hidden inside the trunk, bound and gagged but still alive.
Back at the gas station, Ethan puts a knife to Betty’s throat to intimidate Driver into giving over his personal information, and instead, she decides to kill herself by lunging her throat into the knife blade, much to the consternation of Brodus Clay, who lets out a delightfully vulgar “What the fuck?!?” Driver then wheedles out of his handcuffs and ends up shoving them through Brodus Clay’s tongue, before plunging a knife deep into his back, slaying the mighty beast. (Maybe this is how Luke Evans got cast as Gaston in the new Beauty And The Beast. Maybe not.) No! Not the only living Funkasaurus in captivity! Death toll: six. My interest in this movie has suddenly and greatly diminished.
Two members of the bad guy crew head down to the gas station to see what’s taking so long. One of them slips and falls in an absurdly gigantic pool of Brodus Clay’s blood. In the meantime it’s revealed the kidnapped woman is Emma, a wealthy heiress, and there is a $2 million reward for her. Why Luke Evans is holding her hostage, she won’t say, but she does warn the crew that he is coming to kill all of them — and probably her, too.
The cronies return Brodus Clay’s body to their compound, where it’s revealed that, holy shit, Luke Evans has snuck inside the compound by crawling inside the Funkasaurus’ corpse. He rises out of it in spectacularly gory fashion (seriously, watch that clip), then turns into some sort of hybrid between Arnold Schwarzenegger in Predator and Sylvester Stallone in Rambo. He struts naked through their compound, somehow acquires a shitpile of weapons (I think they came out of his car’s trailer?) and then sets up booby traps like he’s Kevin from Home Alone fighting off the Wet Bandits, only with plenty of Saw-esque twists.
This leads into the torture porn part of the movie, where Luke Evans somehow captures the lead bad guy, Hoag (Lee Tergeson, aka Chet from the Weird Science TV series [at least that’s what I recognized him from]) and then rigs up a contraption to lower him into some sort of industrial meat grinder. (You know, because those are just lying around.) He takes his ear as a souvenir, a la Mr. White from Reservoir Dogs. Death toll: 7.
Now we get a flashback from Emma, where it appears Driver has locked her in some room and has been torturing her, maybe? He tells Emma some long-winded story, then slices his own throat in front of her and gives her the option of saving him or letting him die. (Given that it’s a flashback, we kinda know what she chooses.)
Back to present night: Two of the women in the compound, Amber and Tamara, get into a fistfight, for no real reason. It’s interrupted by thumping at the door, which is from a giant burlap sack of Hoag’s remains. (I don’t know how a burlap sack knocks either.) Flynn pokes it, entrails fall everywhere, people scream — holy shit, this movie still has a half-hour left? And it’s only 80 minutes to begin with? This is a struggle, y’all.
Anyway, another one of the crew members, Denny, tries to fix up an old truck to escape the compound, but he ends up getting his head shoved into the engine by Driver. Amber runs off, Driver chases her and takes her down, but she manages to survive, only to get hit by the same truck Flynn, Tamara and Emma are fleeing in. Death toll: 8. Flynn drops Denny off at a local hospital and then ends up at the same motel Driver stayed at earlier. He tries to pay with Driver’s stolen credit card, which tips off the motel owner that something is up. He calls the police. I’m sure this will end well.
We then get a continuation of Emma’s flashback from before. It turns out she sews him up for the promise of a key to let her out of whatever room he’s got her kept in — but it turns out there is no key. Then it turns out there is no lock on the door. So, okay? The House Of Horrors match made more sense than this. Anyway, Driver climbs in through the hotel room’s bathroom window and strangles Tamara to death in the shower (with plenty of gratuitous nudity) at the same time Flynn kills the sheriff that came to his door investigating the potential stolen identity. Death toll: 10.
Driver then commandeers the sheriff’s police car and runs over Flynn, ostensibly to save Emma, I guess? She then shoots at him and flees the scene, before he tracks her down in a nearby junkyard. She takes a lead pipe to him a la Hulk Hogan and Vince McMahon at WrestleMania 19, but then Flynn shows up and scraps with Driver. Flynn eventually does that classic submission-hold-into-a-one-armed-powerbomb spot that the Undertaker and Brock Lesnar had to do twice at WrestleMania 30 because Taker was concussed and messed it up the first time. Just as Flynn gains the upper hand and is about to kill Evil Finn Bálor, Emma intervenes and knocks him out.
She then tries to kill her kidnapper but doesn’t know how a pump-action shotgun works, so he disarms her and then cuts into her body to remove a tracking device that presumably he also had in Betty (thus explaining the mysterious scar at the start of the movie, and helping explain that this dude is legitimately psychotic and travels around the country gobbling up young women and forcing them to be in weirdly intense, codependent relationships with him – so, a pro wrestler, basically). Driver kills Flynn, then the motel owner, for no real reason other than he knew his name from his credit card. Sorry, motel owner. Death toll: 12.
Evil Finn Bálor then magically appears in the hospital where Denny has been admitted, killing him with a well-placed clipboard to the throat. Foreign objects will get you every time. Driver’s final words? “No one lives.” Oh, so that’s what the title means! I completely missed it until just now. Death toll: 13.
As Driver leaves the hospital, Emma is being rushed in. He touches her arm, letting her know just who still has power in their relationship, then vanishes into the background.
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? Abso-fucking-lutely not. It’s really weird WWE Studios got into the torture-porn game, and this isn’t even entertaining in a dumb kind of way (outside of Luke Evans using Brodus Clay as a Tauntaun). It is hilarious that Luke Evans is in two of the four highest-grossing movies of 2017, though. Maybe he can get No One Lives 2 greenlit now.
2. Is The WWE Superstar Any Good In It? Brodus Clay is totally fine in his role, and makes the most of his screen time. It sucked to see him killed off so early, but to quote NOFX, dinosaurs will die.
3. Would I Be Embarrassed To Have A Friend Find A Copy In My Blu-Ray Collection? I’m not a huge horror buff anyway, so if any of my horror-loving friends were browsing my collection and spotted this instead of one of the genre classics, I would probably be laughed out of my own living room. So yeah, this thing is not gonna be anywhere near me ever again.
Next Week: I take a look at The Reunion, starring John Cena and T.B. Player from That Thing You Do! — buckle up.