Plot: Chris (Brett Granstaff) has spent years on the pro wrestling circuit, entertaining fans under a mask, known as The Saint. But his life is about to take on a new direction and after his final match, Chris will take off the mask one last time, then begin his new life as a minister. That last match doesn’t go as planned, but even a brutal beat down can’t keep Chris off his mission to serve the lord. His first sermons are awkward and as if attendance wasn’t low enough, he notices a gradual decline in parishioners as he struggles to find his voice. As the pews turn more bare and church funds are low, he figures a return to the ring can’t hurt and might boost his spirits, so The Saint once again dons the mask. But he also finds himself in the middle of several potential crimes, which he defuses while masked and in the process, becomes the vigilante protector of his little area. Will his renewed passion to serve and the increase in local morale lead to more churchgoers and what if the police discover who is under the hood?
Entertainment Value: This is a movie about a preacher moonlighting as a pro wrestler moonlighting as a vigilante, with a ribbon of Christian values to keep the picture tied up nice and neat. This is based on a book that is supposed to be inspired by real life events, but it seems beyond convoluted to me, especially in how The Masked Saint handles the pro wrestling aspects of the narrative. One minute, the business is shown as sports entertainment complete with insider lingo, the next, the movie stages the matches as if they’re legitimate fights. This makes those scenes hard to follow, since it doesn’t want to choose an approach and stick with it. As for the Christian elements, it does bang that gong hard and often, so it can be a little heavy handed, though the script uses humor to break it up at times. Not effective humor, but at least it tries and the bad jokes add to the b movie appeal, if nothing else. And this can be an awkward experience, with the less that stellar performances and stilted dialogue, mixed with the preaching and wrestling for an odd cinematic cocktail. But if you like Christian movies and pro wrestling, you might as well give The Masked Saint a shot.
If you found this movie because you’re a wrestling fan, odds are the presence of Roddy Piper drew you in. This was one of Piper’s final performances and he plays a wrestling promoter, which is a fun twist. But if he is your main reason for interest here, you might be disappointed. His scenes are infrequent and when he does appear, it is for brief exchanges and he’s not a central part of the narrative. But he is fun to watch and makes the most of his scenes, with his usual brand of charm and humor, so while in a small role, Piper still shines. The rest of the cast is fine, but mostly turn in wooden efforts that are more humorous than dramatic or serious. Brett Granstaff just feels awkward in almost all of his scenes, which adds some unintentional humor. The sequences where he tries to find his footing in the pulpit are painful to watch, as his general performance is the level of cringe that the movie wants for those instances. The cast also includes Lara Jean Chorostecki, Diahann Carroll, and Patrick McKenna.