The Condemned stars Steve Austin as Jack Conrad, a former member of the United States army who is imprisoned in El Salvador. At the beginning of the film, he is "purchased" by a company along with nine other criminals. The company is led by Ian Breckel, who has purchased these criminals to take part in a battle to the death. This event will be broadcast over the internet, and the survivor will be granted his/her freedom. All of the contestants are forced into this event, and are fitted with explosive ankle bracelets that will explode if there is not a sole survivor after thirty hours. The rest of the film follows Conrad as he attempts to survive the game.
The film brings up an interesting question of morality. Many people find Breckel’s idea to be despicable, and find that airing this content is the equivalent of a global snuff film. However, he argues that these criminals are already condemned; they are set to die anyway, so should he not be a hero for letting one of them have the opportunity to survive? A number of people oppose Breckel, including members of his own crew, who initially support the idea until they see it in action. While many of the members of the crew are excited for the game to begin, they get a quick dose of reality when they realize these criminals are not simply going to act civilized. Some of the rape scenes are difficult to watch at times, and the amount of brutality between the criminals is excessive.
The film itself suffers from a number of issues. The entire FBI side plot seemed disconnected in relation to the events on the island. We are not given a real reason why this FBI agent is so invested in the case of Jack Conrad, and for the most part it does not seem to fit with the rest of the story. Also, throughout the film Breckel mentions how many millions of viewers are currently watching the battle to the death take place. Other than Jack’s friends at the bar, the film lacks any scenes to show how the world is reacting to Breckel’s game. We are led to believe that while many people oppose his tactics, the majority are tuning in to the game. Even a simple scene showing people around the world watching the game would have helped solve this issue.
Jack is also able to infiltrate the crew’s base way too easily. They just released ten, dangerous, murderous criminals on an island, and they don’t have a ridiculous amount of preventive measures to ensure their own personal safety? Guard dogs, a battalion of armed guards - even a fence that can actually keep people out would have been nice.
The Condemned is a nice action flick, but the number of issues with the film prevent it from being a truly enjoyable movie.