Tagline: A Knock Out Comedy
Eddie Sullivan (Feuerstein) is a gambler who owes a lot of money to Memphis Earl (Farina), a smalltime bookie. Eddie planned on earning a prize fight with one of his fighters but when his fighter proves to be less than adequate, he must look for money elsewhere. While praying in church, Eddie can’t help but notice a gentle but giant of a man named Walter (Wight), who has lived at the church orphanage since he was a kid, and comes up with a plan to use Walter as his fighter for a week on a tour of fights across the country ending with the annual Pro-Am MMA tournament in New Orleans and split the money with the orphanage, which is also in need of money if it is to stay open. The head of the orphanage, Sister Francesca, doesn’t trust Eddie and sends Mary O’Connell (Melora Hardin) along as a chaperone for Walter and to make sure the orphanage receives its share of the prize money.
“Knucklehead” is one of the latest WWE Studios movie endeavors with one of the WWE professional wrestlers. This time we have Paul Wight a.k.a. The Big Show starring in a comedy involving fighting. He plays Walter Kronk, the star of the movie, but didn’t receive star billing which is kind of strange to me because I thought that Wight really was the star.
When I first heard about “Knucklehead” and that The Big Show was in it from a friend and fellow professional wrestling fan, I immediately went online to see what it was all about. At first, I couldn’t find The Big Show listed but then I scrolled down and found his name. The plot line was slightly interesting but after seeing trailers, I knew I had to see this movie because I am a fan of The Big Show and I knew he could pull off a comedy like almost no other pro wrestler could.
After watching the movie, I really thought The Big Show did a phenomenal job. The movie is good but slightly mediocre and the best part is The Big Show’s performance. He was able to pull off a believable character that is full of heart, emotion, and facial expression. I really cannot say enough for his performance.
“Knucklehead” is not really receiving great reviews and that is kind of sad because I thought it was above mediocre — not great by any means but very good for a professional wrestler turned actor.
Another recent WWE movie, “Legendary,” starring John Cena actually gave Cena top billing and received slightly better reviews than “Knucklehead.” While I admire Cena as a performer, I really find Wight to be a much greater actor and “Knucklehead” to be a better and more entertaining movie than “Legendary.” I will take the heat for my opinion but I stand behind it 100%.
I always wanted to see Wight star in a comedy movie and I got exactly what I wished for. I knew he would be great in this kind of role because I really like his mike work in the ring and in his interviews. He is a genuinely funny guy and he outdoes himself here. I really hope to see more of Wight in the future, especially if he does comedy again. I’m not sure how well he would do with a more serious movie but I would watch it just because he is in it.
As with other WWE films, “Knucklehead” had a limited theatrical release date of October 22, 2010 and a DVD/Blu-Ray premiere on November 9, 2010. That is less than 3 weeks between theatrical and DVD release. It seems like the WWE knows that their movies will not make it in theaters and automatically set the DVD release to within only a few weeks after the theatrical premiere.
“Knucklehead” is rated PG-13 for some crude humor, language and some fighting action. There is some crude humor but nothing I wouldn’t show a kid and the bad language is very, very minor — I can’t even remember if I heard any bad words at all. Of course, there is fighting but nothing brutal and not even as graphic as can be seen in the WWE ring.
With a runtime of 100 minutes, I don’t think I was ever bored during this movie. Nothing really dragged but some viewers might find a few slower parts. As for me, I never once thought to myself “is this almost over?” because I kept waiting to see what Wight would do next.
Paul Wight, of course, plays 35-year-old Walter Kronk, the main character of the movie. His character has lived in the orphanage since he was a kid and no one adopted him, so it is the only life he has known and the outside world is a bit unknown to him. Traveling in the outside world starts out daunting for him but he quickly warms up to his life outside. By the end of the movie, he is ready for a life outside of the orphanage. Wight begins the movie as a dorky, clumsy character with a huge set of hair that you really can’t look at without laughing! As his character changes so does Wight’s appearance as he gets rid of the hair for his shaven head that we know him from in the ring and he starts gaining confidence with being in public and with his aggressiveness in the ring. Wight did a phenomenal job, especially for not being an actor, unless his in-ring persona counts.
Mark Feuerstein plays Eddie Sullivan, a con artist that really is good at heart. Walter Kronk and Mary really change his character’s outlook on life and he turns over a new leaf. Feuerstein does an adequate job in his role but not really enough to carry the movie on his own.
Veteran actress, Wendie Malick, plays Sister Francesca, the strict, hard-as-nails head of the church orphanage with a good heart. Malick plays her role so good that she really does seem like the iconic tough Catholic school nun that I hear stories about from people who have attended Catholic school. She gives a great performance.
Melora Hardin plays Mary O’Connell, the chaperone sent by the church to make sure everything is on the up and up with Eddie and to protect Walter from his new life outside of the orphanage. She gives a pretty good performance. Her character starts out not trusting Eddie but slowly grows fond of him.
Veteran actor, Dennis Farina, plays Memphis Earl, the epitome of what a two-bit, crooked bookie should be like. His character stays bad even through the ending. Throughout his career, Farina seems to have perfected the role of a criminal and he doesn’t fail to fulfill that role perfectly in “Knucklehead.”
Rebecca Creskoff plays Tina, a fellow “dancer” with Mary far back in the past. Mary takes Eddie and Walter to Tina’s trailer for a place to stay on their journey. Tina grows fond of Walter and eventually grows to love him, making for a romantic twist to the movie.
Overall, “Knucklehead” is a fairly good family movie that is safe to show your children of any age. It is not the best movie but I feel to it is full of heart. The Big Show pulls off a great performance, especially when compared to other wrestlers turned actors. The story might be mediocre but it left me with a good, warm feeling. If you are looking for a brutal action movie, this is not it. If you want a good family movie without hard-core violence and possibly a lesson or two along the way, check out “Knucklehead” today!