Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Kellan Lutz, & Katia Winter
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars
Human trafficking is one of the most heinous crimes imaginable, but what if it was used for something other than sex or slavery? The story of Arena is of a rich millionaire, who wanted to blend the UFC with Roman gladiators. The people taken are all men in excellent shape, who believe they're about to have sex with a beautiful woman, when they are kidnapped, and forced to fight to the death on a highly popular internet site. Everyone from the rich to college kids bet on the fights and then determine the fate of the loser. To be honest, I wasn't expecting much from a film like this, but the story far exceeded my expectations. There is a huge back story to their most recent acquisition, a firefighter from Denver, who is dubbed as Death Dealer. Kellan Lutz plays him and he's one of these OC, Twilight, model types, who gives a surprising performance. This guy must have some kind of special fight training and portrayed this scary dude, who just wasn't going to give up. He's paired with the legendary Samuel L. Jackson, who was his usual hilarious, twisted self. Jackson is one of these guys who is just at a point in his career where everything he does is worth watching, and in a relatively small role, he really adds a lot to this film. Arena was a little better than I expected, until it reached it's conclusion. At the end of this film, there was a huge twist that would have made M. Night Shamalyan proud. I really didn't see it coming and the ending changes the whole theme of the movie. It's the kind of ending that makes you want to watch the film again, after you know the ending, to see if there were clues to figuring out the truth earlier than it was revealed. Arena is far from an award winning film, but it's got much more going for it then I ever would have expected. It's got some crazy violence, but there is also a pretty compelling story, with an ending that will absolutely blow your mind.