I started off the 31 days of Christmas project by reviewing A Karate Christmas Miracle, promising to followup with a “sequel” by the same team. A Wrestling Christmas Miracle. Like the previous film, is written by Ken Del Vecchio and Buddy Fitzpatrick. It it was directed by Chris T Anthony and stars several of the previous film’s cast including Del Vecchio himself, his son Mario who is the star of the film, and an ensemble of known actors including Martin Kove (The Karate Kid), Scott Schwartz (The Toy), Todd Bridges (The Facts of Life), Gilbert Gottfried (Aladdin and over 175 other projects) and Martin Winslow (Space Balls, Police Academy)
Even though it might be seen as a sequel, the film introduces us to two other main characters played by Buddy Fitzpatrick and Julie McCullough.
11-year-old wrestling sensation Kace Gabriel (Mario Del Vecchio) decides to give up wrestling, a sport he only started at age 10 and has won over 50 matches since then, to make a funny movie he believes will allow his friend Charlie to laugh and wake up from his coma on Christmas Day. His dad, Alex (Ken Del Vecchio) is also an accomplished wrestler and is surprised by the turn of events, but is sent off to the Congo to participate in a wrestling tournament called “Christmas Coup in the Congo.” Alex leaves for the Congo shortly after filming his scenes for the movie, and Kace enlists family and friends to portray the film’s outrageous characters.
After finishing the film, he gives the hard drive to his uncle, Ron (Schwartz), who accidentally leaves it in the car and is stolen by the evil duo Chuck (Fitzpatrick) and Kitty Kat (McCullough), both actors who also starred in the movie. They try and sell the film, after seeing how good it is, to a producer and also ransom it for $1 million back to the Gabriel family, knowing Alex has made a fortune in protein shake ads after his wrestling career.
Chaos ensues as Ron, Kace’s mom (Cady Fox), and Kace try and get the hard drive back. After a twist near the end, the film ends predictably like the first when Charlie wakes up just in time for Christmas.
This is an independent film with a budget of around $2 million according to IMDB. While that isn’t a lot to work with, Director/Cinematographer/Editor/Music Writer Christ T. Anthony does a lot to make this film come together. Looking at the poster art, you can almost smell the Disney plastic clamshell VHS cases from the 80s and 90s. The duo of Chuck and Kitty are fantastically played and remind me a little of the banter between Teschmacher and Otis in the original Superman film.
There are a couple of awkward moments in the film-within-the-film, aka Kace’s movie. Alex plays a character confined to a wheelchair who is unable to speak and instead gestures wildly to his assistant who interprets for him. This at first struck me as making fun of people who can’t hear and need to sign, but I don’t think that was the intention. I have to think the best and hope Del Vecchio was doing what Kace was trying to do, in creating an over-the-top character.
The addition of Martin Kove, Todd Bridges, Gilbert Gottfried, and Michael Winslow provides for some comic situations. All are included only in Kace’s film but add to the charm. Throughout the film, there are references to all of the actor’s previous roles to humorous effect. Schwartz’s character Ron was often downplayed, especially with the boisterous characters in Kace’s film, Chuck and Kitty. He does a pretty good job staying baseline and the ending, at least for me, provided a fun turn of events.
The intercutting of Mario actually wrestling in tournaments at the beginning and the end of the film helps put the film in context, while the blurring of other people’s faces was a little distracting. The entire subplot of the Congo Coup is easily forgettable, and the fact most of it occurs over the phone is obviously related to the budget.
If you are looking for a movie to have fun with and support independent and low-budget filmmakers, I can easily recommend A Wrestling Christmas Miracle. The Del Vecchio’s definitely upped their game from the previous film and created something that any pre-teen and tween should enjoy. You may need to explain to kids the difference between a big-budget movie and a low-budget film, but it is a good “put something on” film for the entire family. While the ending might be quick and predictable, I can easily recommend the film.
You can watch A Wrestling Christmas Miracle for free on Amazon Prime as of this writing.