The 321st review!
I had a pretty great weekend and by now I would usually be dreading the return of the work week, but your boy is on vacation all I ever wanted! Let me tell you, I'm feeling pretty good. You could say I'm feeling the power of positivity, which is perfect because today's movie is all about that when we try to...
Escape the Undertaker (2021)
I haven't really watched wrestling since we cut the cord, but I still follow it and consider myself a wrestling fan. I started in the boom years of Hulk Hogan and I was a card carrying Hulkamaniac. I stopped for years then picked it back up during Stone Cold Steve Austin's meteoric rise to the top of everything. I stopped again shortly after the invasion but once again started watching when John Cena was at the top. In those years there have been ups and downs and people have come and gone. The one constant throughout that entire time has been The Undertaker. I was always so enthralled with the character. The gimmick, the attire, his music, that incredible entrance and in an era where kayfabe had died, he was still very protective of the gimmick and was always The Undertaker. (We don't talk about the American Bad Ass phase.)
When I heard Netflix was making a choose-your-own-adventure starring him and my close personal friends The New Day, you can imagine how happy that made me. In 2021 those four are the ONLY people that could make this work. The New Day, Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods stopped by my station to promote a show years ago and in real life they are exactly what you see on screen. Just three friends hanging out living their best lives. It's why they're the most successful wrestling stable of all time and it's not really close anymore.
Anyways, enough back story. The New Day go to the Undertaker's mansion because they want to combine the power of Undertaker's urn with the Power of Positivity so they'd be unstoppable. Undertaker originally wants to ignore them, but the urn starts to glow because it likes to feed on the souls of the good so he lets them in and The New Day go searching for the urn.
While in the mansion, you make choices and the video changes based on what you decide. I never saw the "Black Mirror" episode or the Kimmy Schmidt special they did, so it was my foray in this type of thing. I have to say, it was pretty fun. Because the Undertaker is a supernatural character there's a lot you can do with his powers in his creepy mansion and there's a lot to be had with the New Day. Like with Xavier Woods trying to convince his friends the fog is harmless and Big E refusing to move an inch saying, "That's Undertaker's fog, I'm not touching it." Or of course coming across a body on a gurney with a tag on the foot saying "Isaac Yankem D.D.S." I'd put money down that that was Xavier Woods' idea. There is just something so inherently funny seeing those three interact with the clearly sinister world they stumbled in. I loved when they first get in and one of them calls out, "Yo Uncle Taker!"
One thing that surprised me is the New Day are surprisingly good actors. That's not a backhanded compliment either, not everyone can make that jump. The three run the gamut of emotions and when they're scared it's believable. Despite how silly their surroundings get, they never venture into cartoon territory. Their fear makes sense and they make you feel the panic they're feeling too. Plus, whenever they pass through a trial, their music starts playing and it made me chuckle every time.
I liked it a lot, but I was surprised by how short it was. It's only 31 minutes long, but it can go much longer if you want to play around more to see what kind of different endings you can get. Most of them are pretty straightforward but there's one crucial decision you have to make in order to get the best ending. Me? I made it through 100%. My friend Larry says he got caught by the Undertaker which makes sense if you've ever played a video game with him that involves survival.
It's a lot of fun and the choose-your-own-adventure aspect was a neat wrinkle. Whoever thought of putting those four together needs to be commended, it's one of those things you never realized you needed until it actually happens. Plus hearing President Baby exclaim, "NEW DAY!" warmed my heart.
8.5 Dr. Chainsaws!
Escape the Undertaker
2021 | TV-PG | 31m | Family Movies
Can The New Day survive the surprises at The Undertaker’s spooky mansion? It’s up to you to decide their fate in this interactive WWE-themed special.
Starring: Big E, Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods, Undertaker