Beat Down (2012)
Beat Down is an irreverent comedy about wrestling, family and following your dreams no matter how painful that can sometimes be.
I used to spend every night searching through the movie section on cagematch.net. I’d look for hours through the list of movies on there to see what wrestlers were in what. It’s not updated as much anymore but I still do utilize it often. I’d throw every wrestler I could think of’s name in the search bar to see if they were in anything. One night I threw in Courtney Rush’s name and among her roles was the film Beat Down from 2012.
I spent a while searching online for the movie but couldn’t find a legal way to watch it so I figured I would never see it. I took the chance to message the film’s director Deanne Foley a few years back about the film but she said it was never released on DVD despite it playing festivals, getting a small theatrical release, and premiering on Canadian TV. Late last month she messaged me on Facebook saying she remembered me inquiring about the film and provided me a private link to watch the film. I was elated.
Beat Down is about a washed up pro-wrestler, Whitey, who went by White Lightning and his daughter Fran who pursues being a wrestler despite his protests. Whitey is played by Trailer Park Boys’ Robb Wells and his daughter Fran is played by Marthe Bernard. Fran runs off to join her dad’s ex-tag partner Jimmy “Dark Thunder” Langdon’s (Tony Nappo, Saw franchise) promotion Legend City Wrestling (a real promotion based out of Newfoundland that still operated during the filming of this movie but seem to be defunct now) after learning that her mother is not dead and that her father never promised her to not let their daughter wrestle.
This film has quite a few wrestlers in it too, Cherry Bomb/Allie (All Elite Wrestling, Impact Wrestling, Shimmer Women Athletes, and various independent promotions), Courtney Rush/Rosemary (Impact, Shimmer, various independent promotions), Mr. Fantastic (Legend City Wrestling), Andy “2 Dam Hyp” Roil, and Nikita. It also features Ed Power aka Loco, Xandra Bale, and Troy Merrick as doubles for the wrestling scenes.
With the help of her mom, the famous wrestler, Roxy LaRue, and her new found romantic interest Michael, Fran becomes Archangel. Her father Whitey attempts to put an end to her career because of his bad past with Dark Thunder, who slept with Roxy years ago, even going so far as planting drugs in what he thinks is Jimmy’s room. Fran’s journey in wrestling is something you really cheer for and when she gets screwed over by Jimmy, you just want to sock him in the face.
I love films about wrestling because it gets wrestlers involved in so many aspects of the films be it stunt directing, stunts, or acting. Cherry Bomb is perfect in her role and she really makes you believe that her character is just a bad person in and out of the ring. Courtney’s small interactions with Fran are sweet despite her role as the heel French Kiss in the ring. Nikita has a small part as one of the wrestlers Archangel faces, Sapphire. Andy “2 dam hyp” Roil did the wrestling for the character of Whitey, Loco did so for Michael’s, Xandra Bale was the stand in for Archangel, and Jimmy’s was Troy Merrick. I have seen Courtney’s other roles in Exit Humanity (2011) and Monster Brawl but I would love to see her do more acting. Cherry if she decides could be a huge asset in film and I hope I see her in a role some time.
The real stand outs in this film, though, are Robb, Marthe, and Tony. Robb is absolutely hysterical in his role as Whitey. I found myself laughing at his actions and words throughout the whole film. Tony plays the scummy promoter like he was born just for the role and Marthe brings such life to her character that I found myself fully invested in her hopes, dreams, and struggles.
This is a funny and charming little dramedy and I am hoping that this will one day see release as it is a great little piece about independent wrestling. It has a bit of everything in it as well; comedy, romance, betrayal. The film shows us what it means to chase your dreams, and the importance of family. It is an absolute shame that this film did not make it to DVD.