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Movie review: John Cena¿s `Legendary¿

Unlike John Cena's first two movies, you won't see him dodging bullets or leaping off buildings in his latest WWE-produced film, "Legendary," which opens today for a limited engagement.

With "Legendary," the only leap that Cena takes is a figurative one, as he makes the jump from action movies to a family drama.

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As far as challenging himself as an actor, Cena takes baby steps with this project. For the first time in his brief movie career, he is not playing a larger-than-life action hero and engaging in a battle of good versus evil against a stereotypical movie villain. Instead, Cena's character in "Legendary" battles his own inner turmoil (although he does get to bust some heads in a couple of bar fights, too).

At the core of the film is the fractured relationship between the Chetley brothers – the brooding Mike (Cena) and nerdy teenager Cal (the talented Devon Graye) – who reconnect and gradually bond through amateur wrestling.

Cena gives a subdued performance as a troubled former high school wrestling star who has been estranged from his younger brother and mother (Patricia Clarkson) for years since his father was killed in a car accident. While Cena still does not display a significant degree of acting range, he does do an adequate job of portraying Mike as a good guy who has been emotionally damaged.

I was just glad to see Cena in something other than a mindless action flick, as "Legendary" is part sports movie, part coming-of-age story. It helps the movie that Cena is not counted on to carry it as he was with "The Marine" and "12 Rounds." Graye is the true star of the film and acclaimed veteran actors Clarkson and Danny Glover also have key roles.

While "Legendary" doesn't break any new ground and it's not going to win any major awards, the characters are likeable enough that it will keep your interest and have you rooting for a happy ending.

For more information on "Legendary," including a list of theaters that are showing the movie, click here .

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