The Reunion


Whereas prior WWE-produced movies like Legendary and Knucklehead targeted specific genre audiences, The Reunion abhors specialization, instead transparently pandering to as many different demographics as possible. After their deceased dad leaves them each $3 million on condition that they go into business together, three estranged brothers—a suspended cop (John Cena), a bail bondsman (Ethan Embry), and a thief (Boyd Holbrook)—team up to rescue a kidnapped billionaire in Mexico, thus initiating an odd-couple adventure in which each lead has a specific narrative purpose: Cena kicks ass, Embry cracks wise, and Holbrook broods beneath his blond bangs. Serving myriad masters, writer/director Michael Pavone’s film delivers shoot-outs and car explosions, a few references to church and God, family dysfunction and healing, sex and romance, critiques of capitalism, the occasional ethnic stereotype, and—most prominent of all—Cena’s bulging biceps. The resultant smorgasbord is a misshapen mess, short on humor, tension, or chemistry among its bickering protagonists. The sight of Holbrook receiving a standing-inmate ovation as he departs prison would be this action-comedy’s silliest sequence if not for virtually every scene with Cena, who not only looks like a slab of oak, but who also as an actor, continues to prove about as charismatic.

Archive Highlights