Arena Wars Title Card

Arena Wars (2024) Excites with Bombs, Bullets, and Blood

In the not-so-distant future, the world’s most dangerous inmates are given one final shot at freedom: participate in the smash hit television show Arena Wars, take down some of the deadliest killers in existence, and be set free with a new lease on life. Rudimentary as it may sound, the success rate is far from even, and the ratings for the show are starting to sag. Can this bloodsport survive a twist that shakes the foundation of the concept to its core? What secrets lie beneath the surface, amidst all of the weaponry and waiting contestants?

Where to Watch

Arena Wars (2024) - The Big Fucking City 2045
The Big Fucking City 2045

Arena Wars – Bombs Bullets and Blood

To borrow a line from a Mudvayne song, Arena Wars pledges its allegiance to the bombs, bullets, and blood. Put simply, it is just a fun movie, plain and simple. It delivers on exactly what it says it will, and doesn’t try to be anything it isn’t. The film contains more than a cell block’s worth of action, character development, and excitement that makes ninety minutes pass by quickly. While some may argue that there should be more action, the moments of escalation and commentary allow things to breathe, giving that much more weight to the fisticuffs we see on-screen.

michael madsen and robert donavan give the arena wars play by play
Michael Madsen and Robert Donavan give the Arena Wars play-by-play

Without spoiling anything, the final kill of the film is incredibly satisfying and equally gory, particularly for a film that isn’t explicitly or solely a horror film. It is the escalation of the blood spilled and the on-screen violence that edges things into horror territory, playing with the sometimes rigid lines of genre cinema. For a death game, the film opts to take itself far less seriously than others, with snappy dialogue and a lighter tone despite the intense action and morally gray (at best) characters. Whether there is anyone left to root for, the viewer may decide, but so long as they go for the ride in the first place, that is what counts,

Luke Bender - Afflicted with toxic masculinity and being a badass
Luke Bender – Afflicted with toxic masculinity and being a badass

Death Games the Mahal Empire Way

The death game genre is one that is often explored and less often done well, but the subversion of the endgame makes for a breath of fresh air. The cast of characters has a couple of standouts, namely Michael Madsen as the sardonic Samson and Maria Bova as the mascot of the film, the sickening slasher that is Cutie Pie. Add in the prolific Eric Roberts and Robert LaSardo, repeat offenders of Mahal Empire films by this point, and there’s a fun, diverse cast that plays off of one another well.

In special shout-out Kylie Fulmer, as the incredibly sarcastic and totally wicked Billie, provides knock-out performance and takes credit for one the most brilliant scenes in the film.

Arena Wars (2024) - Bringing on the badass baddies
Bringing on the badass baddies

As a death game, sci-fi tinged action film, Arena Wars is a fun ninety-minute ride. As the latest pillar of the Mahal Empire, it’s a valiant, strong effort, and it seems as though the brother producers have hit a stride in these last few years. A balance of recognizable and beloved stars alongside fresh faces for leading roles, plenty of action, and rarely a dull moment to be found, the empire is staking its claim in the indie horror world, and if they haven’t taken it over, they may do so before long.

Arena Wars is available on DVD and Blu-Ray on July 9th, and is available now on VOD.

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