Playing With Fire (2019)


I don’t want to make this review about wrestling too much, but I was/am a long time fan, and a fan that has NEVER liked John Cena, and ALWAYS liked The Rock…

Cenas switch to Hollywood gives me even more reason to dislike him.  So, I’m not 8 years old any more, so I know that wrestling is fake, but sometimes real life works it’s way into the storyline’s, and that’s exactly what happened when The Rock returned to the WWE to died with Cena a few years ago.  Cena had been talking smack about Rock leaving wrestling to go to Hollywood, and continually pledged that he would never do that…

Fast forward to 2020, and Cena hasn’t stepped foot in the “squared circle” in a long time, plus he seems to be doing all he can to follow in the footsteps of Dwayne Johnson.  His next role is even to pretty much replace Johnson in the Fast & Furious franchise.  So yeah, fuck John Cena.

Anyway, it pains me to say that I really enjoyed this film.  This is effectively to Cena, what Tooth Fairy was for Rock.  A family friendly affair, that sees a relative “hard-ass” become attached to some children that he wanted nothing to do with at first.

Playing With Fire follows a pretty familiar story, but is well executed, and the role does actually suit Cena quite well.  I hate to admit it, but he quite possibly does have a bright future in movies…

The supporting cast is pretty great too.  Keegan Michael-Key is funny as always, and John Leguizamo is always entertaining in my mind.  Then there’s Judy Greer, who I find incredibly talented and so, so very attractive.  She’s very under-utilised here, but the script is fairly thin for the supports, so she does what she can with the material.

Brianna Hildebrand also stars as the oldest of the three children, and she is completely unrecognisable compared to her turn as Negasonic Teenage Warhead in the Deadpool franchise.  She’s fantastic though, and also has a bright future.

Directer Andy Frickman, of The Game Plan and Race to Witch Mountain (both starring The Rock, I have to add..) sticks to what he knows, which is family friendly films featuring gruff protagonists, a healthy dose of heart and humour with a hint of adventure.  It’s not terrible, it’s just a little generic.

Not a bad way to spend an hour and a half though.  Fun for the whole family.


Rick Trewin.

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