Playing with Fire (2019)

Almost a month ago this movie came to my attention when I stumbled across a poster for it while searching for movies that star wrestlers, after that I watched the trailer and knew I had to see it. I didn’t know exactly what to expect or what I was getting into other than knowing the film starred John Cena (WWE) and Tyler Mane (AJPW, WCW, CMLL) and that it was a comedy.

MV5BNTg4YjQyMDAtZWFiYi00OTMzLWJiYTgtMzRiNWMzMTAzMDQ0XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjg2NjQwMDQ@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,675,1000_AL_ (1).jpg

Playing with Fire is about a group of  four Smoke Jumpers who fight wild fires and their rescue of three children who teach them that fires aren’t the only thing that can be a real handful. The group of jumpers is made up of extremely ambitious, goal driven Superintendent Jake Carson (John Cena), the hulking mute Axe (Tyler Mane) who carries an axe with him everywhere, overly sensitive Mark (Keegan Michael-Key) and the My Little Pony obsessed ex-con Rodrigo (John Leguizamo).

It’s hard to pick out just one stand out actor in this film as it such a great cast. Everyone here is in top form. John Cena excels best in films where he gets to play up his comedic side. Cena is legitimately funny with a charming personality so it is always great to see him get to do his thing in films like this. I don’t know why but extremely fit guy who takes himself too seriously but does silly things is a trope that really works for me. Keegan is hilarious as is John Leguizamo. They are amazing at character work. Tyler Mane’s outing here as the large and extremely intimidating man with a soft side, Axe was very enjoyable, too.

I was only semi-prepared for the more emotional side of this film. I assumed that since they rescued these kids there may be a plot element where there was the loss of parents, and I was bummed to find out that was a correct assumption. So odd to see a film that seems largely aimed at kids deal with such a serious subject matter. I also recently began another blog called Is the Dad Alive? where I write a bit on films that have this in their plot to inform folks who may be grieving. The film although sad at times is also an uproariously hilarious film.

I feel like this film will end up being my top film of 2019 because of John Cena’s exceptional performance as Jake Carson as well as Mane’s portrayal of Axe. John Cena has not only the comedic side of line delivery down, he also is great at physical comedy as well. I know it may be a cliche to call someone a renaissance man but Cena is one to the truest extent of the word both on and off screen. Tyler Mane has largely played the villain in his career so it was refreshing to see him tackle the role of Axe.

I really did love this movie and I wasn’t totally convinced I would love it when I first sat down but by the end of the film with tears in my eyes due to the emotional but positive ending to the film, I was won over. If you have kids, like dramedy, or have the propensity to watch anything that stars a wrestler I encourage you to seek this one out, if not in theaters then when it hits Blu-ray and DVD.

Cena 2Cena 3

Cena Mane

Tyler Mane as Axe and John Cena as Jake Carson

Cena 4Cena 5Mane

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s