Lionsgate is known for many things: Releasing controversial movies ("Irreversible", "O", "American Psycho"), prestige pictures that get award attention ("Precious", "Crash", "Away From Her") and of course Horror movies (too many to count-though that genre has unfortunately taken something of a back seat as far as theatrical releases are concerned.) But the one thing people tend to forget to associate Lionsgate with is Straight to DVD movies. For who knows how long, Lionsgate has been giving the world the best (well, usually worst or most mediocre) in straight to DVD Horror, Action and general Exploitation. David (the absolutely abysmal "Last House on the Left" rip off "Chaos") DeFalco now gets into this market with "Wrong Side of Town", a really bad but at least laughable blend of Wrestlesploitation (B-Movie with a Professional Wrestler(s)) and Rapsploitation (B-Movie with a Rapper(s).)
Bobby Kalinowsky (Rob Van Dam) is living a peaceful life with his wife and daughter, when they are invited to a night club run by a corrupt crime lord named Seth (Jerry Katz.) When his wife is nearly raped by Seth's coked up younger brother, Bobby comes in to save to day-and inadvertently kills the guy. None to pleased by this turn of events, Seth puts a bounty on Bobby's head, and hires local gangs (which include R&B singer Omarian, rapper Ja Rule and wrestler Viscera) to hunt him down. Thing is, Bobby is an ex-navy seal, and knows how to fight back. He knows he can't go at it alone though, so he turns to his old buddy Big Ronnie (Dave Bautista) for help.
First thing's first: "Wrong Side of Town" is not anywhere near as bad as DeFalco's prior movie "Chaos", as it's nowhere near as downbeat or ugly as that film. It's still an inept exercise though, with atrocious acting (more on that in the next paragraph), poorly choreographed action scenes, poor direction, heavily advertised actors not getting particularly huge roles (Ja Rule is barely in it, and probably wondering what the hell happened to his career in that he has ended up having a small role in a terrible Straight to DVD movie from the director of "Chaos", and Bautista, despite getting top billing, is barely in the thing), bad editing, and so much more. Sure, you can throw in all the nudity (including a cameo from porn star Stormy Daniels) and action you can, but that doesn't make the movie good.
And back to the acting. Oh boy, it is atrocious. Nobody in this movie can act worth a damn-especially star Rob Van Dam, who acts stiff and boring to the point that you wonder if he's an inanimate object and not a living being. In fact, the terrible acting ends up becoming the sole saving grace of this movie, as it becomes hilarious. My stomach actually hurt from laughing so hard, especially when we first meet the character of Big Ronnie. It's almost worth cherishing in that respect.
Apart from it's casting, there is no real distinguishing "Wrong Side of Town" from any other bad Straight to DVD action movie from Lionsgate. Everything from the low rent "James Bond" inspired opening credits to everything else on display is low rent to the point of inanity. That out of the way, if shitty Straight to DVD action movies are your thing, and if you want a good laugh out of cinematic ineptitude, then by all means watch this. Besides, it's not everyday that you get to see Ja Rule get shot in the head. That I can applaud.