I have been a huge pro wrestling fan since I was a child and can’t wait to see this movie. Writes former WWE legend and current TNA Wrestling star Mick Foley at Slate.com:
“And so I attended a recent New York screening with a dab of cynicism. Sure, I’d heard the film had been a hit at the Venice Film Festival, that there were shades of Beyond the Mat, that Mickey Rourke gave a great performance. I even heard that I was one of his influences in preparing for the role. But what did Hollywood know about my business, anyway? Who had they ever beaten? (As we say in the biz.)
I was hooked within a minute. Within five, I had completely forgotten I was looking at Mickey Rourke. That guy on the screen simply was Randy “the Ram” Robinson, a ’80s mat icon on a two-decade-long losing streak in the game of life, searching for a way, any way, to fan the dying embers of his career. Rourke somehow makes the pathetic seem heroic and imbues in this sad, broken man a sense of quiet dignity and deep-down decency that makes the prospect of not rooting for him—in both his life and the ring—impossible.
I found great authenticity in so many aspects of Randy’s battered psyche. His constant need for acceptance—from his estranged daughter; from his possible love interest, a stripper played by Marisa Tomei (who is wonderful, if a bit shocking for any guy who ever had a crush on her in My Cousin Vinny); from a random collection of customers at the deli counter where he works; from his dwindling number of nostalgic wrestling fans—is a theme that many a wrestler will grudgingly admit to connecting with. The scene depicting a poorly attended “Legends Convention” where Randy, a man so proud of his past, is forced not only to accept his present but to take a glimpse at the future, will strike an uncomfortable yet legitimate chord with every wrestling star whose personal appearances have ever been met with a symphony of silence.
I also loved the wrestling scenes. Rourke deserves great credit not only for whipping himself into incredible shape—packing 30 pounds of muscle on for the role—but for doing his wrestling homework. Learning the trade at age 52 could not have been easy, but Rourke’s in-ring work is good enough to pass this wrestler’s sniff test. No one will ever confuse Randy’s clothesline with Stan Hansen’s, and the scenes surely benefited from careful editing, but much of what Randy did—his flying “Ram Jam”; a Japanese enzugiri kick—actually looks pretty good.”