The Collectors (2003)

Nomination Year: 2012
SYNOPSIS:  If you took a Trapped In A Video Game movie, crossed it with a Martial Arts movie, and gave it the soul of an After School Special, you'd have The Collectors.

Logan Despain was high school kickboxing champion, good enough to be a potential world championship. But as his father is driving him to an Olympic qualifying match, there's an accident and Logan ends up paralyzed from the waist down. Now all he does is sit in his room and sulk and nothing his parents do can reach him. Fortunately, Logan might be a white kid named Despain, but he's Asian on his father's(!) side, meaning he has a Wise Asian Grandfather who happens to be a master martial artist video game designer.

W.A.G. has a new martial arts virtual-reality video game he wants Logan to test. In fact, he's created it as a tribute to Logan. The main character looks like Logan, supporting characters are modeled on people from his life, taken from his old scrapbooks, and fighting styles are taken from his favorite martial arts movies. Logan grumbles, but he just can't say no to W.A.G. and eventually agrees to give it a try. It is, of course, a great game. So great that he falls asleep playing it.

He wakes the next morning to someone knocking at the door. It's goons, here to beat him up! He leaps out of his wheelchair and opens up a can of whoop-ass on the hapless goons. He can walk! It's sort of unclear at this point whether or not the producers realize that we know he's Trapped In The Video Game. At any rate, there's no time to consider it, because Logan's cell phone rings. It's the Head Goon, calling to inform Logan that he's kidnapped his mother and the only way to get her back is for Logan to follow his instructions exactly.

He must recover the pieces of a prototype super-weapon and deliver them to the Head Goon. Of course, each piece requires a martial arts fight. And not just a martial arts fight -- a martial arts fight with one of the old friends who Logan's blown off since his injury. There's his old dojo, his high school gym teacher, and his two best friends. There's even a reunion with the girlfriend he dumped, although he doesn't have to fight her. Eventually, W.A.G. shows up and admits that the whole thing is the game and that to win he must fight and defeat his greatest enemy -- the father he blames for his accident.

In the end, Logan defeats his inner demons in video game form, rescues his simulated mother, returns to the real world, recovers from his depression, apologizes to his parents, thanks his grandfather, and rolls off down the street to reclaim his old life.

I didn't pay much attention to the end credits, but according to the credits on IMDd, this movie featured Dan Singer as "Thug-Kicked in Groin" (as distinct from Jonny Taylor as "Thug"). Now there's a role every aspiring actor dreams of.

"Cutting Butter With A Chainsaw"

Which way to the ass-kicking?
"Do you guys know where Coach Johnson is?" Cue massive martial arts fight! After the hero kicks their asses, they finally reveal... he's in the weight room! Geez, what's this guy going to ask for next, a restaurant recommendation?

Worst Acting

Ken Kauwe is Wise Asian Grandpa.
Ken Kauwe is Wise Asian Grandpa. Think of him as Pat Morita crossed with a tree. A slow tree.

Actors/Directors of Note
Actor Claim to Fame
Ken Kauwe not even in IMDb -- that tells you something right there 
Dan Singer  
Jonny Taylor  
Director Claim to Fame
John Lyde  

Greg Pearson

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