The film centers on ten convicts who are forced to fight each other to the death as part of an illegal game which is being broadcast to the public. The Condemned was filmed in Queensland. Fight choreography was coordinated by Richard Norton, who also stunt doubles for Jones on some scenes. A sequel titled The Condemned 2 starring Randy Orton was released in 2015.
The film was produced by WWE Films and distributed by Lionsgate on April 27, 2007.
Jack Conrad (Steve Austin) is awaiting execution in a corrupt Salvadoran prison. He is "purchased" by a wealthy television producer and transported to a deserted island in the South Pacific along with nine other condemned criminals similarly purchased from prisons around the world. They are "offered" the opportunity to avoid capital punishment and win back their freedom with pocket full of cash by fighting to the death in an illegal game to be filmed and broadcast live over the Internet.
A bomb is placed on the ankle of every contestant, each featuring a 30-hour countdown timer, and a pin (similar to a grenade) that will detonate the bomb after a ten-second delay. The winner will have the bomb removed and be given their freedom as well as a pocket full of cash as the prize. Ian Breckel (Robert Mammone), the producer, is aiming for online ratings that equal or beat the latest Super Bowl reception of 40 million television viewers.
As the broadcast progresses, FBI agents discover Conrad's real identity as Jack Riley after a tip from one of Conrad's former classmates. Conrad is discovered to be a former Delta Force operative who was captured on a Black ops mission to El Salvador after bombing a building controlled by drug dealers. Conrad's girlfriend Sarah (Madeleine West) becomes aware of the situation and watches the show at the local bar she works at as it unfolds.
Ewan McStarley (Vinnie Jones) and Saiga (Masa Yamaguchi) team up to remove the competition, while Yasantwa (Emelia Burns) uses her wiles to trick others to their death. After seeing the show's broadcast tower before the show, Conrad infiltrates the tower and calls Sarah, managing to tell her the latitude of the island before he is forced to leave.
After the other seven contestants have died, Conrad is left alone against McStarley and Saiga. He stabs Saiga, and McStarley flees. Eventually, a helicopter drops a shotgun down to McStarley, who uses it to hunt down Conrad. After Conrad falls into a stream, McStarley runs into the cameraman and his armed guard dressed in ghillie suits while searching for Conrad, and shoots them, picking up the guard's MP5 submachine gun.
When McStarley and Conrad meet again, Conrad ends up rolling over a cliff and into a stream to avoid being shot by McStarley's shotgun. Conrad is presumed dead by the fall, and McStarley is declared the winner. As McStarley is being driven to the control tower to collect his prize, Breckel hears that the FBI has sent United States Navy SEALs to take him into custody. After he meets McStarley and de-activates his bomb, he tells him that he will not receive his prize money. Breckel and McStarley fixed the game in his favor in exchange for his freedom and profits. McStarley takes an MP5 from one of the guards, and kills the tech team in the building, one by one, even though they truthfully did not know that Breckel was abandoning them all. When he corners Julie, Breckel's girlfriend, he is confronted by Conrad, who shoots him several times after talking briefly about McStarley's past. Conrad grabs McStarley's two machine guns and chases down Breckel, who is fleeing the island in a helicopter. After emptying the two guns firing at the helicopter, he is given McStarley's re-activated ankle bomb by Julie. Conrad throws it into the helicopter, and Breckel reaches for it, however, the helicopter explodes, and crashes into a cliff, killing Breckel and bringing his vicious game to an end.
The epilogue shows Conrad being driven back to Sarah's home in Texas, a free man. He is greeted by Sarah, who presumed him dead after he fell off the cliff in his struggle against McStarley. The film ends with Conrad smiling slowly.Steve Austin as Jack Conrad/Jack Riley (USA)
Vinnie Jones as Ewan McStarley (UK)
Masa Yamaguchi as Go Saiga (Japan)
Emelia Burns as Yasantwa Adei (Ghana)
Manu Bennett as Paco Pacheco (Mexico)
Marcus Johnson as Kreston Mackie (USA)
Dasi Ruz as Rosa Pacheco (Mexico)
Nathan Jones as Petr Raudsep (Estonia)
Andy McPhee as Helmut Bruggerman (Germany)
Rai Fazio as Dominic Giangrasso (Italy)
Rick Hoffman as Goldman
Robert Mammone as Ian Breckel
Tory Mussett as Julie
Sam Healy as Bella
Madeleine West as Sarah Cavanaugh
Sullivan Stapleton as Wilkins
Luke Pegler as Baxter
Angie Milliken as Donna Sereno
The Condemned (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) was released on April 24, 2007. It was composed by Graeme Revell. It is exclusively available on the iTunes Store.Additional tracks
Other songs featured in the film, but not included on the soundtrack:"You Don't Know" by Eminem, 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks & Cashis
"Lonely Train" by Black Stone Cherry
"In the Air Tonight" by Phil Collins
"Out of Line" by Buckcherry
"Backwoods Gold" by Black Stone Cherry
"Driven" by Sevendust
"Bullet With a Name" by Nonpoint
"Shooting Star" by Black Stone Cherry
"Soulcrusher" by Operator
"Firestarter" by The Prodigy
"Savin' Me" by Nickelback
The critical response to the film was overwhelmingly negative. Rotten Tomatoes lists the film with a 15% rating, registering 15 "fresh" reviews out of 99, while Metacritic gives the film a 23% rating. Complaints against The Condemned included accusations of plot holes, overly preachy tone, lack of plot progression, hypocritical morals, poor fight choreography and one "fake" wrestler.
V.A. Musetto of the New York Post gave the film zero stars out of four, describing it as a "sickeningly violent and inane movie" and complaining that it is a bad rip-off of Battle Royale and The Most Dangerous Game.
One of the few positive reviews came from Michael Booth of the Denver Post. He described the concept as "The Truman Show meets Con Air" and makes positive notes about the reality television aspects of the story, although he cautions readers not to expect "high art" based on the 3 star rating he gives the film.
The film debuted with a $3.8m opening weekend in the US. The film lasted only 4 weeks in theaters and posted a big loss, closing with a total of $7,371,706. The movie fared worse internationally, taking only $1,271,152 in limited foreign markets, for a total of $8,642,858. The film reportedly lost $15,700,000.
On September 18, 2007, The Condemned was released on DVD and Blu-ray. Opening at no.4, The Condemned brought in $6,520,918 in the first week. Overall, it has sold an estimated 1.185 million DVD units earning $22,673,378, more than 200% its box office gross.
The Condemned was released in Australia on January 4, 2008, with an MA15+ rating (Strong Violence, Strong Coarse Language). It was released in New Zealand DVD in February 2008 with an R18 rating (Contains Violence and Offensive Language). The DVD made its release in the United Kingdom on March 24, 2008 with a rating of 18 (Contains Strong Violence and Language). This was a straight to DVD release in the United Kingdom.
A sequel titled The Condemned 2 starring Randy Orton was released in November 6, 2015.