Any time a movie features a group of convicts in jail, it’s a safe bet there’s a significant number of black characters involved. In the case of The Wounded, it’s a regular Rainbow Coalition, with mostly black and Latino cast members, but also a couple of white guys and an Asian dude to boot (white collar crime, no doubt). This is a film with a purpose — aspiring to be a sort of low-rent Dangerous Minds or Stand and Deliver, but without all that annoying competence.
The story follows a group of punk criminals deemed so hopeless they’re put in the care of counselor Nick Taka, whose last job ended with a mass escape and the deaths of all involved. Oh hell, let’s give him another shot! Taka is supposedly some bad-ass survivalist/martial arts/ex-Marine-type, but it’s hard to get past the fact that he looks like Saddam Hussein and rocks both a mullet AND a comb-over. His heart is in the right place, though; he’s dedicated his life to fighting inner-city violence by teaching kids…combat skills? I smell a TRAINING MONTAGE! The cons get lessons in boxing, karate, paintball and, time permitting, conflict resolution, all the while bonding on a personal level beyond the superficialities of anal sodomy. Black guy Noa (Sammi Rotibi) even helps skinhead Danny (Andrew Johnston) learn how to use a computer. How cute.
Just when you start to wonder where the “horror” element comes into play, up pop the Satanists! The prisoners take a trip through the boonies for some reason or another and stumble upon a clan of human-sacrificing devil worshipers who sound mysteriously like escapees from a Renaissance festival. Pretty soon, it gets all Deliverance up in there, as the two groups fight for survival in the woods, providing some of the hammiest combat this side of the WWE, as can best be summed up by bullet points:
- The hand-to-hand fight sequences aren’t choreographed so much as mimed.
- Glancing blows means certain death.
- One of the cultists carries nunchucks.
- Death requires someone standing over the body, yelling to the skies, “NOOOOOOO!” Shitty music optional.
Apparently, the budget ran out before they could film the finale. The action just stops, and a voiceover explains that everyone basically lived happily ever after. NOOOOOOO!