First film review on the new website. Best make it a good film.
Behold the third film in a four-film deal between WWE and Warner Bros. (Hanna-Barbera, really), Scooby Doo’s second stab and making WWE and the McMahons relevant in their 2016 effort: Curse of the Speed Demon.
A film that hits neither wrestling nor mystery.
The two had teamed up for two heavily wrestling-related pictures in the form of 2014’s Scooby-Doo WrestleMania mystery that saw Scooby-Doo and Shaggy main event a one-match WrestleMania.
Cut to modern day WrestleManias that last 8 hours and have 15 matches.
2015 took a different, but similar avenue as The Flintstones & WWE presented a Stone Age SmackDown! Fred Flintstone quits his job to become a wrestling promoter – filled with stone/rock puns. In a world full of rock puns, there is no sign of The Rock but there is John Cenastone.
It is very telling that the two wrestlers with any form of commendable acting credits – The Rock and Batista – have never participated in these films. Endless sullying to their Hollywood reputations would take place.
The fourth, and possibly final, film in this series saw The Jetsons pull the shortest Hanna-Barbera straw. It’s a shame really, because what Curse of the Speed Demon would have been infinitely better suited to is Wacky Races.
Even Top Cat would’ve been a better alternative.
Or Yogi Bear.
Another exposing feature to this film is the lack of top class wrestling stars in this film. I’m not counting Triple H because, being tied to the McMahon family, he probably has a legal obligation to star to make himself seem somewhat family-friendly.
The Undertaker takes up the mantle as probably the only real star you can remember—possibly Dusty Rhodes if you’re of that age. It’s a very big fall from the likes of John Cena, Daniel Bryan, Rey Mysterio & CM Punk from WWE Studios’ previous animated effort.
In fact, Hulk Hogan was supposed to be the lead role but was sacked on a count of him being a massive racist prick.
That’s it in a nutshell, really. The fragility of WWE making films is endangered with its ability to create a fast revolving doors effect throughout the company.
Hulk Hogan – sacked for being racist
Dusty Rhodes – dies a year before release
Cody Rhodes – asks for his release two weeks before release probably because he didn’t want anything to do with such an abomination.
Paige – double suspension around the time of release, probably for similar reasons as Cody Rhodes.
This was a big problem in the previous Flintstones edition. CM Punk leaves the WWE in January 2014 with a huge wad of lines in the upcoming 2015 release to the extent where there’s not enough time to re-shoot. You can just imagine an embarrassed Vince McMahon trying not to hear CM Punk at the premiere.
So getting onto the film, it begins with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon earmarked as the film’s bad guys, or heels. Wonder whose idea that was? They then smash a course record. Wonder whose idea that was?
Creative control at play here, lads.
I’m a big fan of the film using insider terms like angle and heat in front of a child audience. We’re all attending Kay Fabe’s funeral without even realising it. Another killer of Ms. Fabe is The Undertaker’s mere presence in this film (and the one previously).
Mr. Spooky Dead Man Inc.’s voice acting really slaughters the idea that The Undertaker actually is this unchained, phenom Deadman, doesn’t it? His constant desire for meatballs and love for puppets and the ‘thee-ay-ter’ (theatre) really doesn’t compute with a man that used to bury people alive and crucify them back in the day.
Hi Mr. Undertaker, can you take time out from sleeping in coffins, burning your family house down and just being a general shithouse in Death Valley to record a fucking massively substantial role in this new Scooby Doo film?
Sure, can I get it out of the way inside one day?
So, as the only star, The Undertaker becomes the face of the show – despite not being an active member of the WWE roster. Could they seriously not drag John Cena out of his constant Make-A-Wish schedule do a couple of lines here and there? Daniel Bryan couldn’t have been that busy at the time of the recording with his poorly neck, either. Rope Rey Mysterio in for another film to snag that sweet, sweet Latino demographic.
Scooby and Shaggy enter the race after taking up the first 20 minutes with their routine of eating everything in sight – waiting for the wrestling to begin, here – and have to tack themselves onto The Undertaker to be his race partner.
Los Matadores are in it, though. (don’t know who they are)
In fact, as a very, very occasional wrestling viewer since 2007, I struggle to pick out names. Goldust and The Miz I know, Sheamus and Rusev are somewhat familiar, Paige is too but only because she’s English. Cody Rhodes playing his Stardust alias took slight research as his poor render just looks like there’s two Goldusts on screen.
Still waiting for the wrestling to begin.
The film continues, Triple H and Stephanie play the exact characters as they do on weekly WWE programming, to the extent where they probably collated 85% of their lines from stitched together promos down the years as The Authority, which I hear is a largely sleep-inducing excuse of an authority figure role that takes up 50% of a now 3-hour Monday Night RAW.
Starting to think this is a lame version of 2002’s WWE Crush Hour for the PlayStation 2.
Also, with such little heels at show, (no Big Show or Kane because that’d be too hard for the kids to guess whether they’re heel or face) there’s a blindingly obvious clue as to who the demon is.
Vince McMahon – just because it’s Vince fucking McMahon
Triple H – quintessential bad guy, I literally think he’s played a face 6 months out of his 25+ year career. (and Stephanie by extension)
Yeah, I know I’m 25 years of age and I’ve got better things to be doing but my main excuse of watching this is that I could not find the remote and my child was relatively sedate.
Despite all of this, the fact there aren’t many suspects undercuts any mystery around the film. Vince McMahon doesn’t have much reason to become Inferno, (yes that’s the demon’s name and yes I was wishing for an Inferno match at some point) and you sort of gravitate towards him just because it’s him but really the top heel is Triple H.
There’s no wrestling in this, I’m coming to terms with.
There’s also two black characters in the film. I’m not playing that card but since all of the wrestlers in the film are driving cars, and are all white (besides Goldust) then it becomes very jarring that Kofi Kingston plays a television reporter. His tag team, The New Day, one of the more entertaining features of modern WWE, would’ve made this film instantly better.
But you’ve got to have Michael Cole on commentary so that’s nice. I guess.
The best thing about this is, Boomerang seem to be showing these WWE/Warner Bros. collaborations every Monday from 9.30a.m. in the UK.
So I guess I’m going to have to put myself through it all again.