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Mr. S. Pike "sim2k" (Somerset, England)
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Hitman
Hitman
by Bret Hart
Edition: Hardcover

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening and Moving, 24 May 2009
This review is from: Hitman (Hardcover)
While I was growing up in the eighties and early nineties Bret Hart was a real hero to me. I loved his style and his physique and even at that young age I think I appreciated his character as a hard worker who always gave his best and earned every win he got. However, due to my interest in wrestling gradually waning over the years it wasn't until recently that I saw the Hitman documentary "Wrestling With Shadows".

This was a real eye opener to me on the whole 'Montreal Screwjob' scenario that I had only really heard of in passing before, and as a result when I learned that Bret's open and honest autobiography was about to be released I ordered it straight away, and I must say that this book is fascinating.

Early on the book seems like an extremely honest but somewhat by-the-numbers wrestling autobiography, in which Bret describes starting out with his brothers and later Jim Neidhart, Dynamite Kid and Davey Boy Smith, and he is very open about the drugs and sex and real violence that followed them around throughout their early tours.

The antics described in much of the first half of the book will shock and quite possibly appall some readers, and certainly shattered a few of my childhood illusions, but Bret still comes across as a good guy trying to do his best in a world full of temptations (and I believe him). The real beauty of the chronicling of Bret's fledging career though comes in the foreshadowing of world famous events down the line, such as early encounters with Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels, and Bret's lovingly written memories of his late brother Owen, all of which make sure that you can't help but keep reading.

The take on the infamous screwjob is even more enlightening than the documentary previously mentioned, and gives an extremely interesting insight into all the figures involved. As well as this we are given fascinating behind-the-scenes glimspes into the day to day personalities of some of the most famous men in wrestling history, and to wrestling enthusiasts of around my age the inside info on superstars like Mick Foley, Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H and The Undertaker is priceless.

The back cover of the book makes a big thing about the betrayals by Vince, Shawn, Bret's own family and more, but I think its really worth mentioning the tales of heartwarming comradeship that are told as well, which really moved me at times.

There are very deep insights into the lives of some of the wrestlers around Bret as well, so fans of Dynamite Kid, Davey Boy Smith and many others should really give it a read too, not to mention Shawn Michaels fans, who might learn something interesting about their idol!

Of course this is all only Bret's side of the story, so readers are free to draw their own conclusions...

In all I can heartily recommend this book to anyone with even a passing interest in wrestling as it is very well paced, emotively written, and a deeply fascinating insight into a strange and often brutal business. It didn't release me from its hold until I'd read it from cover to cover!


The 13th Warrior [DVD] [1999]
The 13th Warrior [DVD] [1999]
Dvd ~ Antonio Banderas
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: 3.95

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If only it was longer..., 15 Nov 2005
The 13th Warrior is directed by Die Hard's John McTiernan, and Michael Crichton, the author of the book 'The Eaters of the Dead', upon which the film is based. The plot concerns Ahmed, an Arab emmisary swept into the affairs of the Vikings of the North. Thanks to the words of an old oracle Ahmed becomes the destined 13th warrior, then he and twelve of the Vikings are forced to battle a mysterious enemy famed for eating the dead. The story is told from Ahmed's point of view and we join him as he lives and fights with the Vikings and eventually learns to respect them.
The film, although not quite so epic as it perhaps should have been, is thoroughly enjoyable thanks to some exciting battles and some interesting and charismatic characters, such as 'Herger the Joyous', a strong but light-hearted Viking played by Dennis Storhoi, who befriends Ahmed early on. Although most of the 13 warriors are little more than extras to add to the body count, the viewer will become familiar with a small circle of the warriors who are given distinct personalities and all of these are likeable and add something to the film.
A remarkable thing about The 13th Warrior is that it really could do with being longer, which is the opposite of the complaints against many films of this type. There are certain stories that seem to start and then go nowhere, most notably the rivalry between the Viking warriors and the Prince of the land they have been sent to save. This side story seems to end very suddenly, before it really has a chance to go anywhere, and it is a shame because it could have added a lot to the film.
As an adaptation of the book 'The Eaters of the Dead' the film does a very good job, although a few characters are missing or replaced, and the more 'tasteless' antics of the Vikings are left out of the film, this is possibly for the best.
In all The 13th Warrior is a great film for action fans and those who are looking for an epic that won't take up as much of their time as Gladiator or similar films. The characters are likeable and the memorable setpiece at the end of the film will not disappoint, so it is definitely worth watching or purchasing if you are a fan of the genre. The only trouble is, you may just find yourself wishing it were longer...


Versus [DVD] [2000]
Versus [DVD] [2000]
Dvd ~ Tak Sakaguchi
Price: 10.92

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So stylish!, 11 Nov 2005
This review is from: Versus [DVD] [2000] (DVD)
After having had this film in my wishlist for months and months I finally took the plunge and purchased it, all the while fearing I'd bought another duffer just because it was Asian and had great box-art. Mercifully, I was completely wrong!
This film is very stylishly made, the scene in which the Yakuza members first arrive and the ensuing stand off that results in our first dose of undead action is stylishly filmed and builds the tension beautifully. It is easy to forget about the low budget, the fight scenes are fast and visceral, the actors suit their roles, and the characters, while for the most part not being particularily deep, are very cool and just the type of people you want to see fighting for their lives in a forest plagued by the undead.
The plot is there despite what many have said, a Higlander-esque saga that spans back through time, intriguing and ambiguous enough that it leaves plenty to the imagination, so that you can make your own conclusions.
Some of the filming is the best I've seen, especially towards the end in the face off between the two main characters. The visual appeal of all the characters gives the director plenty to play with and there is some really imaginative camera work to be found here.
If none of this has convinced you then let me add that Versus is worth watching at least once just for the suitably insane performance of Kenji Matsuda as a particularily dangerous Yakuza member and later a skittering, howling 'hyper-zombie.'
Aside from a slightly pointless side story with two cops I really can't fault this film much at all, so if you want slick, stylish camera work, non-stop lightning quick action, an excellent soundtrack and superb characters then you could do far worse than give Versus a try.


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