Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Movie Vault Reviews-Fitness Edition: Pumping Iron [1977] & Kickboxer [1989]

Despite being struck by dengue last month, 2013 has been good to me on a physical level. I've spent most of the year on a workout regimen and and currently am in the best physical shape I have been since my competitive-sport playing days (which next year will be one whole decade ago... yes that long back!). This Saturday night I'll be plodding away competing in a 12km run... my first ever night run, which I'm extremely excited about. Despite still being a foodie and someone who doesn't really do cardio training (I focus more on weight and resistance workouts) I'm still hoping I'll do well. Runs like these are fun for the experience that they bring. The one this Saturday has a fantastic scenery of Putrajaya.

Last week I posted my 10 Favourite Food Movies, so to counter the indulgence, its only appropriate that this week I feature a post on fitness. I've been re-watching the Rocky and Karate Kid movies for inspiration but didn't want to review them yet because they involve a franchise of films. The only movie that involves a marathon that I can remember is Run Fatboy Run [2007] but I didn't fancy revisiting that one. So I chose these two films instead...

# Pumping Iron [1977]

"Milk is for babies. When you grow up you have to drink beer"

Directed By: George Butler, Robert Fiore
Featuring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lou Ferrigno, Matty Ferrigno, Mike Katz, Franco Columbo
The Story: A documentary that follows contestants preparing and competing in the 1975 Mr. Olympia and Mr. Universe bodybuilding competitions. Future movie star and California Governor, Arnold Schwazenegger has won Mr. Olympia for 5 consecutive years and plans to retire after this one. This makes it the last chance for other bodybuilders to carve their name into history as someone who put a dent on his legend. Arnold's biggest challenge is from another future movie star, Lou Ferrigno.
The Verdict: There is no doubt that Arnold is legendary. Not only is he probably the best bodybuilder and action-movie star of all time, but his personality and intellect is what ultimately makes this documentary compelling. He is cunning, manipulative and plays all sorts of mind games on his competitors. All traits that probably prepared him for politics I guess. Like all champions, he is also extremely determined and focused. He skipped his dad's funeral because he was training for a competition which date was near.
Lou Ferrigno, best known for his role as The Incredible Hulk on the 70s TV show is Arnold's biggest competitor but falls victim to the mind games. You can't fault the guy's determination though. He gets through the final reps of his workouts by chanting "Arnold! Arnold! Arnold!" as shown at the end of this clip below. Feel free to make fun or actually adapt this method as motivation in your own workout. I know I do.

Rating: 7 out of 10

# Kickboxer [1989]

"Never Make A Decision On An Empty Stomach"

Directed By: Mark DiSalle, David Worth
Written By: Mark DiSalle, Glenn A. Bruce
Starring: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Dennis Chan, Rochelle Ashana, Michel Qissi, Dennis Alexio
The Story: USA kickboxing champing Eric Slone (played by Dennis Alexio) travels to Thailand to challenge the Muay Thai champion, Tong Po (played by Michel Qissi). Eric ends up severely injured. His brother, Kurt (played by Jean-Claude Van Damme) studies Muay Thai to avenge him and take on Tong Po himself.
The Verdict: Wow! It has actually been 24 years since I last saw this movie. Other than revealing that I'm an old man (30s does sound old to me :P ), I realized that this wasn't as good as I remembered it to be. But I'll give it a pass. Despite not being as memorable as similar movies from the era like the Rocky or Karate Kid films, this has a lot of familiar elements that you would find in an 80s fighting movie. Simple and illogical plots, cheesy dialogue, and wooden acting. So unless you're in it for nostalgia or have a thing for these types or movies, do not indulge. Me? I enjoyed it because of the unconventional old-school training scenes that you would often find in classic kung-fu films. Dropping a coconut from the top of a tree on to one's abs might give you an idea of whats involved. Other than that, well, I just get a gleeful kick whenever I see Van Damme do those famous spinning kicks or leg splits of his.
Rating: 6 out of 10


  1. Hi Asrap! I always laugh whenever I saw Van Damme! I have a good friend who's a HUUUGE fan of his, he could even do the split! He did it once at a party, it was hysterical! Boy, Arnie was sooo huge back then eh, I used to love watching Conan The Destroyer, not sure why but I was obsessed w/ that one, ahah.

    1. I love Arnie... he's the epitome of a box-office movie star. My favourite of his is Predator and Terminator 2.

      Van Damme makes me laugh too... I mean this was the guy who played a baddie in Expendables 2 with a name of "Vilain" and whore sunglasses inside a mine! A freaking mine! only he could pull that off!

  2. awesome post. Seriously.

    It is yet another of my secret shames that I, lover of all things Arnold, have NEVER seen Pumping Iron. And I own it.

    JCVD is hysterical and I'm always up for guys participating in ridiculous training activities. It's the best. it's probably been 24 years since I saw that one too.

    Good luck in your race, my friend.

    1. Pumping Iron is a good watch because Arnie's personality in real life is just as interesting as on the screen.

      Can believe it's been 24 year since Kickboxer was out... probably the first JCVD film I saw.

      Thanks dude!

  3. I didn't know that Arnold won that competition for 5 years, but I am not surprised though. My memory of Kickboxer involving the very cute Sasha Mitchell, or he was in the sequels? Kind of tired with Van Damme that time, he was in every action movies.

    I hope you did well for the competition!

    1. Sasha Mitchell was in the sequels. Sadly though (or maybe not ;P ), I haven't seen any of them yet. Van Damme did seem to be in a lot back then didn't he?

      Thanks Andina. The run was last night. I was disappointed though as I fell a little short from my target time. Its OK as there's another one next month and this time I'll be doing proper cardio training. I'm a sore loser like that ;P


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