The Reunion (2011)
” Last Chance. Long Odds.”
Director: Michael Pavone
Cast: John Cena, Ethan Embry, Amy Smart
Synopsis: Sam and Leo Cleary have grown up hating each other, and neither likes their juvenile delinquent kid brother, Douglas, to whom they’ve only recently been introduced.
Given its’ 12 rating, it’s not difficult to see at whom the WWE Studios are pitching The Reunion, a three-way buddy movie that is probably better than it deserves to be. It’s aimed squarely at those kids undergoing that brief two-year period in their lives during which they live and breathe the soap opera antics of American wrestling. Most kids move on by the time they reach puberty, but a sad few never really recover. Thankfully for us, the storyline in The Reunion is a lot more convincing than those played out in the ring, even though it lacks the firepower an adult rating would have permitted it…
John Cena plays Sam Carey, a recently suspended cop who learns that he has inherited $3 million following the death of his neglectful father. The inheritance has a catch, though: in order to claim it, Carey must first enter into a business agreement with his two brothers, one from whom he has long been estranged and one he didn’t even know he had. Leo (Ethan Embry) is a brash, wise-cracking down-at-heel bail bondsman who resents Sam for walking out on him when he was a kid, while young Douglas (Boyd Holbrook) is fresh out of prison. Initially, Sam is opposed to the deal, and it’s his younger sister Nina (Amy Smart), who persuades him to give it a go.
Their reunion coincides with the kidnapping of Wills (Gregg Henry, largely wasted in a bland supporting role), a wealthy businessman who is believed to be held in Mexico. The TV news reports that he was abducted by a con Leo has bailed for £250,000, so Sam reluctantly agrees to go south of the border to see if they can salvage the situation and claim the $3 million reward being offered for Wills’ safe return.
While The Reunion will probably find few fans amongst followers of Die Hard and the Bourne type of movies, it nevertheless stands its ground as a reasonable time filler that achieves what it sets out to do simply because its objectives were so modest to begin with. Cena is no real movie star, but he has a certain presence and a likeability that carries him through. The interplay between the three brothers is mostly lightweight, and all three are eventually proven to have hearts of gold buried somewhere beneath their gruff exteriors. Holbrook is perhaps a little too pretty to convince as an ex-con — with those pretty looks it’s no surprise so many inmates were sorry to see him finish his sentence at the beginning of the movie — but he’s an engaging presence nonetheless, while former child actor Embry provides a welcome spark as the abrasive Leo.