Saturday, May 16, 2015
THE SHEIK (2014)
Edited & Directed By: Igal Hecht
Story By: Igal Hecht, Jake Neiman & Jian Magen
Cinematography By: Igal Hecht, Jon Corbin, Jesse Cappe & Elad Winkler
Featuring: Bret Hart, Jim Duggan, Hulk Hogan, Dwayne Johnson, Nikolai Volkoff, Jake Roberts, Jim Ross, Jimmy Hart, Seth Green, Jack Black, Mick Foley
Filmed extensively between 2006 and 2014, this is a touching story about the unlikely revival of a former wrestling superstar. At age 72, the Sheik has embraced an unlikely new career as an outlandish social media sensation; known for hilarious outbursts and massively popular antics. Watch as we recount the Sheik's one-of-a-kind life journey. The film explores the Sheik's personal relationships with those closest to him, and those who know him best: his wife, his children, his grandchildren, his contemporaries and colleagues. Interviews were conducted with the Sheik's family, Wrestling and Iranian historians, friends and over 25 wrestling superstars.
This documentary is a entertained subject in itself, though it seems more interesting and devoted to people into wrestling especially 80's era WWF (now WWE) now while it might be almost a wet dream for those fans. This is still a compelling look at an athlete who stood for the American Dream. Though his public persona was supposed to be as an enemy of it.
Throughout the tale we see and hear of how great he is and was. As we also witness and hear him at his worst. We learn about personal triumph as well as tragedies, especially the one that truly devastated him and continues to haunt him. Though it gives a fair view of him. Knowing it is being made who handle his business affairs. You can’t help but feel it is stronger weighing in on the positive.
One of the pleasures of this film is not only catching up with him, but also seeing the ring legends talk about him with such admiration and to actually see these co-workers of his. Who I remember as Titans of the ring. What they look like now is shocking and amazing. It is also an element that is entertaining and jolting for the audience that only adds or gives the people (audience) partly what they want. It makes humans of them all. It reminds you it's a job for them, but they also know the joy, entertainment and melodrama they brings to an audience who most know that it is fake, but still get lost in the fantasy. These men were heroes to more kids and teens in their youth. One of the first live physical examples of a superhero and an equally built super villain.
The film also gives the audience a glimpse behind the curtain of the 80's wrestling scene where the business and sport were coming more into the mainstream and though the theatricality has always been there this was when it was beginning to turn into more of a entertainment circus. More acts then it seemed athleticism to a degree. It also let's you learn more about the real people and personalities behind the masks.
This was nostalgic for me because even thumb i wasn't a die hard wrestling fan yet at the time. It was becoming more and more noticeable on my radar. The Iron Sheik I remember for just at the time being the embodiment of all evil and wondered why didn't the government step in at the time. Keep in mind i was only 7. Even though he was still a villain. I believe i kind of recognized him more as an actor pretending to be a heel, because of two instances. One I used to watch the Saturday morning cartoon HULK HOGAN's Rock and wrestling and realized that he came off more as a buffoon then a serious dangerous threat, plus he would be interviewed live action in character. If he hated America and Hulk Hogan so much why would he be on his cartoon show. Yes I had some logical skills at the time. (Though still thought if I fake got hit by a car and my female crush see it. She would Come to my aid and nurse me back to health and in that action we would fall in love)
Secondly reading about how he got busted with drugs with all AMERICAN Hacksaw Jim Duggan blew my mind. Because hacksaw wasn't a traitor. So that must me they were friends like co-workers and ever since then the illusion was shattered. Though I will admit in my teen years that didn't stop me from getting carried away in the hoopla of supposed beefs and fights in wrestling believing the performance full-heartedly.
The film also shows the influence The Sheik had on many wrestlers and how he might have been the one to really fuel the fire of hulk-amania.
What really hurts to me is that always when it comes to wrestling documentaries is that they never include Mean Jean Okerlund.