“We make movies.”
That’s what Vince McMahon once said about WWE. And in a sense, he’s right, given how many film roles they’ve crammed their Superstars into over the years. WWE Studios films generally fall into one of four categories:
The animated children’s comedy, the live-action family comedy, the prestige picture where Randy Orton threatens to go to the papers if he has to, and the R-rated action flick. Countdown clearly falls into the latter category.
The film begins with Dolph Ziggler and another guy attempting to buy illegal weapons from a shady Russian. The dealer refuses to do business at first, suspecting that the two are cops…
…so Dolph shoots his companion point blank in the chest to prove that they’re not.
Satisfied, the Russian guy shows him his cache of automatic weapons, at which point the cops show up. See, Dolph really was a cop, and the other guy, his partner, was wearing a bulletproof vest.
Still, the partner is furious about Dolph’s unplanned gunshot, which came within an inch of missing his vest.
But it did hit the edge of the vest, so he was absolutely fine. I’m just surprised that no one in Russian’s office noticed that the dead guy wasn’t bleeding from his chest wound.
Now in hot water, Dolph reports to police headquarters, which looks like this:
And they say police budgets are bloated?
Once again, Dolph has run afoul of the veteran, by-the-book police captain, played by Glenn “Kane” Jacobs. A daring casting choice, considering this is the same man WWE fans have seen bury his brother alive twice.
And while electrocuting a man’s testicles is enough to get you fired by the Chicago PD (eventually), it apparently didn’t hinder Kane’s law enforcement career.
A female officer enters, prompting Dolph’s now-ex-partner to flirt with her and, when ignored, casually call her a bitch. That’s gritty, baby!
Dolph doesn’t think too highly of this woman, either, as she is in charge of policing the police. See, Dolph is a real maverick who doesn’t play by the rules – particularly the rule that says you can’t, and I quote, “shoot civilians and other cops”.
And after his latest shoot-his-own-partner stunt, the department suspends him (with pay).
Dolph kicks off his paid vacation by mourning his dead son, Mikey.
But the next day, Ziggler gets called back to the office; an envelope he received, the latest in a year-long string of suspicious mail, has yielded a clue.
Using Dolph’s dead son’s name as a password, the cops access a website featuring a kidnapped boy on a webcam, wearing a grab bag of explosives.
The kidnapper demands a ransom of a little over two million dollars in a Russian accent. Well, in a nondescript black bag. But he speaks in a Russian accent.
Just when the plot’s getting interesting, they stick in a minute-long commercial for WWE, a montage of the WWE crew constructing the set and the WWE Superstars warming up for their matches. Conveniently, the kidnapper has demanded the money-drop be made at a WWE event, allowing WWE Studios to showcase all the things that make WWE fun:
See, after the kidnapper picks up the money but ditches the GPS tracker, the police try to move in. The kidnapper then shoots a plainclothes cop at point blank range, and since he’s not secretly wearing a bullet proof vest, he probably dies. Dolph chases after the kidnapper with a gun for stealing his schtick.
While Dolph – ahem – zigzags through members of the WWE Universe, the kidnapper shoots a security guard.
Rusev tackles Ziggler, thinking he’s some armed psycho instead of a suspended police officer who likes to shoot random people. Rusev points the gun at Dolph, who insists he’s a cop.
Ziggler then superkicks the Bulgarian Brute and takes back the gun.
He even slaps his own thigh.
“Now that’s a real man,” says Lana, kicking off the worst storyline of 2015.
Then comes the least believable part of the entire film:
Brock Lesnar wrestling on a random matinee house show.
Just as the kidnapper is about to set off the bomb, Dolph shoots him in the head, slapping his own thigh for good measure, probably.
The good news is that the kidnapper is dead. The bad news is that the cops now have less than seven hours to find the kidnapped child before he gets a-sploded.
Dolph sets out to find the boy on his own, then, after deliberately causing a fender bender, gets the Internal Affairs lady to join the cause.
In his search for answers, Dolph busts into a tattoo parlor and beats up its occupants with a baseball bat…
…garrotes the Russian arms dealer at his home…
…and invades the Russian consulate, where he shoots a security guard and holds hostage a diplomat (who gets shot in the gut during the standoff). Why do I get the feeling that in twenty years, every hack online film writer will be lauding this movie as a brilliant satire?
For her part, the Internal Affairs woman tracks down the dead kidnapper’s apartment. Inside, she and Dolph find a collection of clippings about Dolph and his son Mikey, whose death announcement states that he “lost his life in a tragic way”. As opposed to what, an hilarious way?
Along the way, Dolph’s truck gets stolen (off-screen), so he has to ride along with the cop-watcher. At least the truck thief also fixed her fender.
Just as their investigation heats up, Dolph’s jerk-ass ex-partner arrests him and accuses him of being in cahoots with the kidnapper.
In the interrogation room, he presents damning evidence implicating Dolph himself in the plot. Being a jerk-ass, the cop also brings up how Dolph’s wife left him for another cop after a drunk driver who was also a cop killed Dolph’s son (who was not a cop).
All the while, Dolph compulsively checks his watch as precious seconds tick away…
…then tick back and away again. This should be a major stroke of luck for Dolph, as the ticking time bomb seems to have gotten stuck between 1:06:59 and 1:06:56, but alas, this is just an editing blunder. Apparently, rather than re-shoot the cheapest and easiest shot in the whole film, the editors simply recycled the same clip and sped it up. They would have gotten away with it, too, were there not, you know, a clock in the shot – a shot whose sole purpose is to show the passage of time – in a movie called Countdown.
Dolph escapes by knocking out his interrogator, then beating up a lot of other cops…
…including Captain Kane, who goozles him in vain.
Once out, he and the woman search an address they got from the bomb-maker. And he got it from a paycheck the kidnapper signed over to him. Buying a bomb with a check is the norm in Russia, I assume. If only the kidnapper had demanded his ransom in the form of a check, they could have caught him alive.
The kidnapper’s place of work, some kind of mill, turns out to be a dead end. Speaking of dead, the Russian arms dealer shows up and accidentally blows himself up with a grenade, losing his life (but not in a tragic way).
Now the good cops have to rush to police headquarters, where the kidnapper briefly worked as a custodian, planted evidence to frame Dolph for some unfathomable reason, and hid the boy.
Dolph finds the boy and frees him from his Phantom Menace C-3PO costume before it detonates.
So in the end, Dolph saves the kid…
…earns Kane’s respect…
…and punches out his ex-partner. So it was all worth it.
Then again, when you factor in the damage done to police headquarters, the lawsuit money the PD will have to pay to Dolph’s victims, the international incident at the Russian consulate, and the dead officer and security guard, maybe they should have just paid the ransom.