Judge David Johnson may not pump iron, but he pumps cubic zirconia like a stud.
I'm going to pump…you up.
I'm going to be honest with you. When I saw this arrive in my weekly DVD mailing I pushed it to the very outer edge of my deadline. I hadn't requested it. I had zero interest in anything related to bodybuilding. This one was going to feel like work.
You know where this story goes: Generation Iron is excellent. And, I would wager, I'm exactly the type of audience director Vlad Yudin has built this for. It is an intimate look into the lives and preparation of a group of elite body-builders that positioning themselves to make a run at the ultimate recognition in their sport: the title of Mr. Olympia.
That's the end game, and without spoiling it, the drama that unfolds is legitimately suspenseful, right to the declaration of a winner. Sometimes, I guess, you get lucky when you point cameras in the right direction for an extended period of time.
Like any good documentary, the journey is far more interesting than the destination. The final winner is merely the capper; and regardless of how it wrapped, I was already into Generation Iron in a big way.
Because it's all about the bodybuilders. These guys hail from hugely different backgrounds but have one thing in common: an insane work ethic. That's the theme—work. Say what you want about the pursuit of turning yourself into a hulking slab of beef, nothing comes easy. Three to five gym stints a day, six days a week, no guarantees of big checks and the looming stigma of roid-rage surrounding them; that's the life of a bodybuilder.
Featuring candid interviews with the competitors, deep access into their personal lives and the always-on narrative of the march to Mr. Olympia, Generation Iron works the sports documentary playbook well and benefits from colorful characters, a tense finale and a mysterious sport that I knew jack about.
Add that up and this was a movie I was privileged to see.
The DVD: 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen, 5.1 Dolby Digital surround, director's commentary, a behind-the-scenes featurette, deleted scenes, and an interview with Lou Ferrigno (who joins Arnold Schwarzenegger on screen during the film).
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Anchor Bay
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