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An Excellent Insight Into Stuntmen, But With A Lot Of Namedropping
on 2 October 2012
I've had mixed feelings about this book, which has intrigued and infuriated at times. On balance though, I think that if you have enjoyed the action movies of the last thirty years or more, then there is plenty in here to read about.
Firstly, the name dropping. There are times when Armstrong's casual references to legendary film stars was irritating in the extreme, not least because he would recount a story about him and a film star, and they are all great stories, but this would be followed up by "many years later when I met up with X at such-and-such awards, he immediately remembered the story, what a guy".
This got repetitive after a while, but even so, the insight and (short) story-telling more than makes up for it. There are great moments of reflection when colleagues pass away on the job, or when close shaves bring things back into context. There are comedy stories of narrow escapes and brushes with the law, there are experiences of life in the depths of Mafia ridden Colombia, and of course there are the descriptions of how he (and others) pulled off those amazing fight scenes and stunts from films such as Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Live And Let Die and countless others.
There are unnecessary contributions from the likes of Lucas, Spielberg and Harrison Ford, as if to emphasise how much everyone likes Vic, I could have done without them in the chapters. Save them til the end, Vic. Having said that, the addition of pictures throughout the book, rather than just a glossy section in the middle, added interest and context to the stories themselves.
A great book to read on your travels, or before you go to sleep at night, packed with short chapters that go through Armstrong's work, almost film by film.