The WWE® has had its share of talent take a shot at the action genre in decades past. Fans certainly remember the first wave of wrestling icons taking the plunge into film as Hulk Hogan (Rocky III, Suburban Commando), “Rowdy” Roddy Piper (Body Slam, They Live) and the late Randy Savage (Spider-Man). In the years to follow, Triple H (Blade: Trinity, The Chaperone), Kevin Nash (The Longest Yard) and Bill Goldberg (Universal Soldier: The Return, Santa’s Slay) continued the growing trend and added to its growing momentum. However, it wasn’t until recently that superstars like John Cena (The Marine, 12 Rounds) and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (The Scorpion King, Fast Five, Faster) removed all doubt to professional wrestlers could not only bring their acting skills to the masses but they could carry entire films on their shoulders, turning them into box office gold.
Trish Stratus is undoubtedly on of the most talent athletes that has passed through the legendary WWE® system. Armed with killer looks, infectious charisma and a down to Earth personality, she quickly cemented herself as a fan favorite. While life outside the squared circle is has keep her exceptionally busy, it seemed a bit shocking that it took so long for the multi-faceted Stratus to make the jump to the silver screen. When the news of her action film debut hit the streets, we were very intrigued!
In ‘Bounty Hunters’, an action thriller that was an official selection at the 2011 Actionfest Film Festival, Trish Stratus stars as the tough as nails Jules Taylor. As bail enforcement agents, Jules and her two dedicated partners, Chase (Boomer Phillips) and Ridley (Frank J. Zupancic), find themselves struggling to make ends meet as they pursue deadbeats night after night. Luck seems to be turning in their favor when they get a hot tip from that could make them rich. The informant turns out to be worth $100,000 if they hand him to the authorities but if the turn him over to ruthless mob boss Hal Lambrino (Joe Rafla), he is worth a cool million! It is a difficult choice for the group to make but when the group refuse the mobster’s offer, he unleashes a gang of assassins to take out the bounty hunters and the informant permanently. It doesn’t take long for the mob boss to discover that he has bitten off a little more than he can chew as the action of the film kicks into high gear!
While the film was shot on a small budget by Patrick McBrearty (Psycho Ward), it still provides and interesting storyline for the viewer and makes the most of the tools that the filmmaker had at hand — that is what good filmmaking is all about! The film is loaded with some great fight scenes that really showcase Stratus’ skills. Long time fans of this former seven time WEE World Champion will enjoy her apprehending and taking out some aggression on a larger than life bail jumper during a workout session and squaring off against an Asian assassin named Ruby (Andrea James Lui) who wants to put an end to the bounty hunter once and for all. Did we mention that some of these fight scenes involve Trish Stratus in a hospital gown and a school girl outfit? Yeah, it goes without saying — that it is a must see! While Trish Stratus is billed as the star, her co-stars in the film also turn in decent performances to add dimension to the film. Such is the case with Boomer Phillips, who has a plethora of great one liners in the film that add a few healthy laughs to the action mix. Be sure to stay tuned during the credits to see a few alternate takes and bloopers that show how much fun the had on the set during filming. One of the most interesting aspect of the DVD is a behind-the-scenes featurette and interview with Trish Stratus, that while short, gives you some great insight on the fight choreography for this film. As a fan of action cinema, I found this very interesting and it demonstrates the great results you can achieve, even on a small budget.
Action cinema has been fortunate over the past few years to have been blessed with some genuinely talented leading ladies such as Angelina Jolie, Kate Beckinsale and Zoe Saldana. However, there are few women with real-world knowledge of the fight game and the acting chops to back it up — Gina Carano is one of the few that spring to mind. With ‘Bounty Hunters’, Trish Stratus seems to be laying the groundwork for what could be an amazing career as a dynamic action star! And why not? She is the total package and a force to be reckoned with! She is someone who doesn’t back away from a challenge and who’s dedication will help any project rise to new heights. If you are a fan of Trish Status or great cinema, ‘Bounty Hunters’ will give you pure “Stratusfaction!”