by David S. Lane

Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain) directs Mickey Rourke (Sin City, Man on Fire) in a career-defining role as Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a veteran performer on the professional wrestling circuit who is desperate to hold on to the fame and glory that once surrounded him.  Despite himself and the odds stacked against him, “The Ram” begins to evaluate his state of life, attempting to reconnect with his estranged daughter and striking up a relationship with an exotic dancer with troubles of her own.  Bruised and battered both inside and outside the ring, Randy slowly tries to piece together the life he still has; but the thrill of the show and the passion for his art threatens to take it all away from him once again.

Pro wrestler Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a former superstar now paying the price for twenty years of grueling punishment in and out of the ring. But he’s about to risk everything to prove he has one more match left in him: a re-staging of his famous Madison Square Garden bout against “The Ayatollah”.

Mickey Rourke truely gives the performance of a lifetime in this film. If you didn't know any better, you would believe this is a documentary. His character is the real deal, from his bleach-blonde hair...down to his wrestling boots. You get to see his trials and tribulations along with how he survives in this chosen lifestyle. Going from barbwire, glass and staple guns in the ring - to learning how to operate the meat slicer in the deli-department. Even if you've never watched a wrestling match before, you will want to cheer for the guy that's past his prime and looking for one more shot at glory.

The movie also has Marisa Tomei as an aging stripper that gives Rourke's character his only enjoyment in life. She truly has a heart of gold and someone he is able to ask advice about re-connecting with his daughter. Although she has troubles separating her feelings for him as anything more than a client.

The movie locations are all very believable along with a very colorful wrestling crowd, both in and out of the ring. After all "pro wrestling isn't about winning and losing — it's about putting on a show".

- Within the Ring featurette: behind the scenes interviews with the Producer and Director

- The Wrestler Music Video – Written and Performed by Bruce Springsteen

I highly recommend this movie. I think the reality of the story hits home with anyone that grew up in the eighties and had a favorite wrestler. Even those who have never watched a professional wrestling match will appreciate the sentimental story. In the end, you really have empathy and understanding for both the character and Mickey Rourke for living that lifestyle!