Don't challenge Judge David Johnson to a mixed martial arts cage match. He bites.
Let's get it on.
The premiere event for the EliteXC "Xtreme Combat" league features two cage-fighting legends, Frank Shamrock and Renzo Gracie, squaring off at the top of the card. In case you didn't know, they're kind of a big deal.
First, a quick recap on my history with this sort of mixed martial arts, ultimate fighting stuff. Way back in high school my stupid friends and I decided to pitch in a few bucks apiece a spring for the ludicrously expensive Pay-Per-View fee and gather around for an Ultimate Fighting extravaganza—and were thoroughly bored. The first fight was kind of cool. I remember there was a fat Japanese guys who got kicked in the face and that got our adolescent bloodlust pumping, but after that it was submission after submission and we eventually lost interest and wandered off to play some Mortal Kombat on the Genesis.
So you should know, right away, I'm not an MMA fan per se. I can acknowledge that these guys are tough nuts, and every one of them would send me into a coma by accidentally bumping into me in an elevator, but watching the endless grappling fails to float my boat.
Now here's the EliteXC outfit, ready to rock my world. The two-DVD set features the five televised matches (aired on Showtime), headlined by the Gracie/Shamrock card on the first disc and five additional bouts—the undercard—on the second disc.
The verdict? If you're an MMA follower, I'd suspect you'll find enough to like here to warrant a look-see. Me, I flashbacked to that night in high school. The scenario plays out almost exactly the same, with a bad-ass fight opening the evening (Charles Bennett vs. K.J. Noons) and series of matches that devolve into rolling around on the mat afterwards. The ballyhooed throwdown between Shamrock and Gracie is especially disappointing. They manage to get a few shots in, but the match is cut short on an injury. Blah. Ironically, the undercard turned out to be more entertaining the televised stuff, with more aggressive fighters and brutal encounters.
While I wasn't moved and grooved by the matches, they certainly look fine, displayed in a crisp 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. A Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo mix pushes the sound. For extras: a brief behind-the-scenes featurette with fighter interviews, still galleries, fighter bios and text-only info on the league.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Image Entertainment
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