Judge David Johnson has always wondered how they get those bulls so ornery and frustrated at the rodeo. Perhaps the bull plays Battletoads before the gate opens.
Grab a bull rope and hold on…
If you like bullriding, this is the DVD for you. Hands down. No contest. End of story. This is what you can expect from Ultimate Bullriding: 60 minutes of uninterrupted bullriding. And I mean it when I say "uninterrupted." There's no voiceover narration, no pauses in between the action for interviews or reactions, no down time whatsoever. The footage is fast and pounding.
The program does have a semblance of order to it, though. The disc is chopped up into chapters, with the accompanying footage corresponding to the theme of the chapter, like hard falls, trouble right out of the chute, great performances, even some throwback footage for nostalgia purposes. In fact, the chapter wipe is the only moment where we get some produced voice-over narration. If we ever hear any color commentary it's because it's the original audio for the respective clips. This program is interested in only one thing and that's bullriding.
As far as the footage goes, it's pretty sweet. While I can certainly respect an hombre for staying atop a rampaging bull for eight seconds and acknowledge that he is more of a man than I can ever hope to be, the true electricity comes from the clips of dudes getting smoked. Pro Rodeo Films is unafraid of showing the downside of riding bulls (i.e. getting your ass gored), and the clips of cowboy obliteration are copious. Guys are tossed, stomped, slammed, spiked, and any other verb that signifies getting violently thrown off a bull.
The rear-disc synopsis claims that the program features over "200 bone-breaking, jaw-dropping rides and wrecks," and that's probably true. Sensory overload is the name of the game, and Time Life does not pause in laying down its rodeo mayhem. As those of you who are into bullriding already know, apparently there is no shortage of thrills from established superstars like Tuff Hedeman, Terry Don West, and Donnie Gay. I have no clue who those people are.
Which is probably the only complaint I could foresee someone having with this disc: it's not interested in giving the viewer the skinny on the sport. Aside from a simple, scrolling-text-based rundown of the rules (as an extra), there is no overview of the sport in general. It's all about the footage. But, for me, that's what's refreshing about this disc. Compared to a DVD you might get from, say, the NBA, where the highlights are often chopped up with comments, irritating graphics, and instant replays, the stuff here is straightforward action. If you want to watch that guy get launched face-first into the dirt then get his solar plexus stomped on, you'll have to do the rewinding yourself.
Besides the "Rules" bit, the only other extra is some bonus footage from 1959 featuring some guy named Jim Shoulders as he wins the title at the first ever National Finals rodeo in Dallas. For what it's worth.
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Scales of Justice
• Footage from the 1959 National Finals Rodeo
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