Take the wrestling out of Chokeslam – and it’s only an ancillary part of the film – and what left is pretty barren. There’s the fragile but kind loser, the girl he once loved, and her current dope of a boyfriend. You’ve seen this one before no matter your personal cinema history.
But there is wrestling. That’s a new twist on a rom com. Amanda Crew plays a pro wrestler from a small town, looking to close out her career. She’s not particularly convincing as a grappler. All of the in-ring action is embarrassingly rote, matching the (lack of) energy in the central romance.
Crew’s male co-star, Chris Marquette, fits his role. He’s fine as a romantically terrified 28 year-old, the source of Chokeslam’s humor. All of it, actually, even if the nice guy routine is devoid of a fresh take. Alongside crew, the pair carry no real chemistry when together. Chokeslam has to force the issue just to make any of this plausible and in turn, pushes Marquette into creepy territory. He won’t leave his high school girlfriend alone.
It’s dying for a surge of energy
It’s dying for a surge of energy
Chokeslam meanders around, sinking under the weight of an 100-minute frame when there’s only 70-minutes of legitimate content. It’s not that these characters lack development so much as they exist as plainly written archetypes without attempts to break them from their pre-formed mold. Everyone is and becomes what an audience expects them to. A needless cameo role from retired pro wrestler Mick Foley is as arbitrary as the wrestling angle itself. He looks good on the posters though.
There’s so little to say about Chokeslam. It’s dying for a surge of energy. That never comes. Potential from the chaotic life of pro wrestler isn’t capitalized on. Not only is Crew implausible in the ring, her entire wrasslin’ aesthetic is dire. Chokeslam aims for a romance and whiffs there too.
Shot on digital and with limited resolution, Chokeslam doesn’t offer much on Blu-ray. Frequent bouts of aliasing on clothing never stops impacting the imagery. On a zipper, a bout of moire appears. That’s certainly uncommon in the modern digital era.
Clarity takes a hit from persistent noise, filling shadows and hardened colors. You’ll notice it on a blue sweater worn by Marquette late in the film. Outside of those darker areas though, Chokeslam is generally clear.
At least the transfer is perky. Contrast offers punch. Flesh tones stand out, as do the variety of colors. Saturation reaches pleasing levels, making things easy on the eyes. When needed, even black levels play nice and close-ups will produce enough definition to reach average levels.
Chokeslam doesn’t provide any audio selection options, but it comes paired with a DTS-HD 5.1 mix. It’s adequate. The key issue is muffled dialog, making some lines difficult to hear. Blame the low budget and recording methods. It’s infrequent, but enough to cause problems.
In terms of positional use, Chokeslam’s soundstage barely reaches any positional channels. Surround use sounds matrixed rather than discrete. Stereo use is marginal, generally filled by music or a wrestling crowd.
Other than trailers, Chokeslam includes a 2:30 behind-the-scenes featurette primarily composed of the cast goofing off in the ring. Also, be wary of the volume which cranks itself up during the few brief interview snippets.
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