Actors: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mickey Rourke, Michael Jai White
Director: Vlad Yudin
Format: Color, NTSC, Widescreen
Number of discs: 1
Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Studio: ANCHOR BAY
DVD Release Date: May 13, 2014
Run Time: 107 minutes
Whether or not you understand the mentality of the oversized bodybuilders competing for the annual title of Mr. Olympia, there is no denying that the stories of each of these men is in itself fascinating enough to make this film interesting to gym rats and couch potatoes alike. A few of them are angry and aggressive, which makes them less likeable but no more compelling to watch. They all have egos to help convey an added sense of confidence, but it is interesting to see what really drives men like this to reach extreme sizes, even at the expense of their own health.
There is clearly an effort to avoid offending fans of the sport, which means a limited portion of the film addressing the startling increase in steroid usage among competitors. It has now become so commonplace that sizes have become extreme and unrealistic, which is made especially apparent when comparing Generation Iron to Pumping Iron (1977). Even Schwarzenegger’s brief appearance commenting on the changes in the sport addresses the dependence on drugs in bodybuilders’ regiment.
Staying unbiased would have been enough, but filmmaker Vlad Yudin devotes such a small portion of the film to addressing the topic of steroids, and most among the interviewed defend the use of them. Instead, the majority of the film focuses on the dedication that the competitors have to training, from their exercise regiment to the carefully constructed diet. The filmmaking remains a bit too gentle in the approach to the subject, attempting to make these athletes look more impressive by focusing all attention on the positive attributes needed to achieve what they do. There is just enough footage of the outbursts and silly behavior to see that most of these men are over-sized infants in their emotional stability, but merely enough to know that there must be much more beneath the surface.
The DVD includes a commentary track with filmmaker Yudin and meathead Phil Heath. There is also a behind-the-scenes featurette and some additional footage, including the extended interview with Lou Ferrigno.
Entertainment Value: 7/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 5.5/10
Historical Significance: 6.5/10
Special Features: 6.5/10
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