Wrestling and religion don’t mix.
Brendan Wahl | @BrenW23
No, you don’t understand.
I LOVE WRESTLING. The art of professional wrestling is something I fell in love with when I was eight years old and I saw Bret and Owen Hart battling each other as siblings-turned rivals. I always liked the good guys until I became a teenager because then it was cool to like the ‘heels’ (bad guys) during the era in the late 90s/early 00s otherwise known as wrestling’s golden age. I still watch today and I even work as a manager for some local wrestling promotions. I love wrestling so much that I even decided to give The Masked Saint a chance based on its wrestling-related premise.
The film revolves around a story based on reality featuring a wrestler-turned-priest known as… you guessed it… the Masked Saint (Brett Granstaff, who also co-wrote the film). One night, another wrestler known as the Reaper decides to take liberties with him in the ring and ends up breaking his leg. Due to this, Saint (or his real name: Chris Samuels) moves and becomes a priest for a failing baptist church. He finds he lacks the charisma to truly motivate the churchgoers and especially when it comes to raising money so he returns to the ring to make some money and also gain the personality needed to lead the people in prayer. Oh, he also wears his wrestling mask to stop criminals as some sort of real-life superhero too.
I hated this movie. HATED this movie. First of all, let’s talk about the acting in this film. It is awful. Roddy Piper at least has charisma for his role as a shoddy promoter but as for everyone else in the film, they are mostly lifeless and/or completely unbelievable. Brett Greenstaff has a very forced manner in which he delivers his lines and he is even less charismatic than his character is supposed to be. The young girl that plays his daughter is even worse than every single actor in The 5th Wave. She continues the trend of awful child performers and she made me cringe with every single corny line she was forced to deliver. There is a character (Judd Lumpkin) who was like a second-rate Shooter McGavin and one of the worst antagonists I’ve seen in a long time. We also get stereotypical characters like the Magical Wise Black Lady and another villain known as the Scary Black Man. I won’t blame it ENTIRELY on the actors because this has to be one of the worst scripts I’ve seen in some time. There are characters that just completely change their personality with no reason given. Abusive husband? Nah, he’s good now. God and stuff. A detective investigating this strange masked vigilante who attacks criminals? It’s all good, man.
I also knew this film had some “religious content” but it is really shoved down the viewer’s throats in a big way. I don’t care if you are religious or atheist or whatever but characters suddenly changing their points of view or personality just because they find God or Jesus is an extremely weak way to explain someone’s actions in a film. It’s the equivalent of a character in another film just deciding to suddenly change because… hey, why not? You can’t just use Jesus as a crutch to explain away a character’s actions. It is a weak filmic tool. OK, rant over.
Here is what really pissed me off in this film though: logic gaps. Everyone (well, mostly everyone) knows that wrestling is pre-determined and the film does confirm that point but then there are several scenes that make no sense. In one scene, Chris is watching a wrestling show from the stands and witnesses Reaper working stiff with one of his friends. As he runs into the ring with his mask on to save him, you’d think he’d attack Reaper and quickly get him out of the ring as fast as possible. Well, you’d be wrong. Instead, Chris and his friend do some ridiculous wrestling moves on Reaper and he even gets pinned by his friend. Obviously, if this really happened the referee and security would focus on removing Chris and not letting the match continue and especially counting the pin as if it was part of the show. Another annoyance is towards the end of the film when Chris and Reaper are set to have their big match. Piper tells Chris who is going to win but Chris interrupts and says that this is going to be a “fair fight” meaning they will not pre-determine the winner. THAT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN. He basically says they are going to have a shoot fight and then whatever happens is all good. Ugh.
This is a steaming pile of preachy, horribly written and abysmally acted crap. The wrestling material is offensively stupid and is fairly obvious that the filmmakers didn’t do a lick of research. I can see why this only played for one show in our fair city.
Brendan Wahl is an independent movie reviewer based in Fredericton. He also reviews movies on the podcast Cinema Ramblin’.