24th Apr2014

‘Generation Iron’ Review

by Richard Axtell

Features: Mickey Rourke, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Jai White, Lou Ferrigno, Busta Rhymes, Phil Heath, Kai Greene, Dennis Wolf, Jay Cutler, Ronnie Coleman, Roelly Winklaar, Bob Cicherillo, Branch Warren, Ben Pakulski | Written and Directed by Vlad Tudin


Generation Iron, a semi-sequel to the classic Arnold Schwarzenegger documentary Pumping Iron (the film is exec produced by Jerome Gary, producer on the Schwarzenegger doc), is a documentary film which follows a group of body builders all of whom are competing for the much coveted Olympia title. If they win this, they are officially the greatest body builder in the world. Generation Iron looks at the different techniques used by these competitors to achieve the body of their dreams, and how far they are willing to go to become Mr. Olympia.

This film is a very interesting look at the professional sport of body building, covering a large aspect of the competitor’s lives. It looks into their eating habits, their image in the eyes of the public, the media and themselves, their drive to win and their personal lives. As a person who doesn’t know anything about the sport of body building I was surprised to find how heavily the competition relies on image, the shape of the body and the symmetry of the muscles in the body. In my naïvety, I had assumed that body building was more along the lines of weight lifting with the strongest being the winner. I feel this film would be of particular interest to aspiring body builders, showing how those at the top of their game get there and stay there, despite their rather stressful lives and the amount of dedication which is required, sometimes at the sacrifice of family and free time.

Mickey Rourke provides a gravelly voiced narration of the the whole story which can sometimes provide an exciting gravitas to the situation being described… Or be a bit cheesy, the writing taking it a little too far at points. However, it can be a bit of a confusing maze of a documentary…

Following about eight different body builders as they train for the title, it is very easy to get lost as to who is who and which story we are following at what time. Sometimes a voice over from one competitor will start whilst we are watching another story and then it will swap back to the voice over’s story. If the documentary only followed three or four stories this would probably be bearable but with the twisting turns and stories of eight guys, this can lead to a bit of a headache as you try to figure out what is going on. Of course, if you are not really interested in body building, then this is definitely one to avoid.

Generation Iron is released on DVD on May 12th, courtesy of Signature Entertainment.


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