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The Smashing Machine (2002)

 -  Documentary | Sport  -  May 2002 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 1,392 users  
Reviews: 18 user | 7 critic

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Credited cast:
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Mark Coleman ...
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Dawn Staples ...
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Eddie Goldman ...
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Ken Shamrock ...
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Igor Vovchanchyn ...
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Genres:

Documentary | Sport

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Rated R for violence, some language and drug content | See all certifications »
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May 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Smashing Machine: The Life and Times of Extreme Fighter Mark Kerr  »

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Trivia

The original title of this movie was "The Specimen". That was Mark Kerr's original nickname and it was the title with which the movie was presented at the 2002 Tribeca Film Festival. It was change to "The Smashing Machine" once it was picked-up by HBO. See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Brutal but Moving Inside Look into Ultimate Fighting
14 February 2003 | by (Manhattan, NYC) – See all my reviews

Like many people who have commented on this movie, I too was a big fan of the UFC when it first came about. I eventually stopped paying attention to UFC after a few years because they started making so many rules, it went from being a human cockfight to a mundane wrestling match. Why I would want to watch two men beat one another within an inch of their lives is a question better answered by the psychologists. The only viable answer I can give you is the fascination of seeing so many different forms of martial arts square off against one another. (After all, seeing a 450 lb. Sumo wrestler get choked out on the mat by a 165 lb. Jujitsu master is quite a spectacle.)

But it's a lot more fun and glamorous to watch -- or at least so I thought. I was lucky enough to go to the opening of The Smashing Machine and did not find myself cheering on the blood and gore as I did when I used to rent UFC on pay-per-view. You see, when you watch the UFC, you don't get to know the people in the ring. You almost forget that these are real people, in many cases, just trying to put food on the table for their family. For as much as we see these people as insane and deserving of their punishment for voluntarily choosing such a career path, these are real people - just like you and I.

The Smashing Machine is a brilliant documentary that follows Mark Kerr and Mark Coleman on a multiyear quest from UFC in America to the spectactular Pride competition in Japan. You see the befores, the afters and the inbetweens. You get inside these peoples' heads and hearts and can feel the emotion that courses through them at every moment of their journey. It is not glamorous by any means.

This documentary is very powerful in its ability to tell the human story while still satisfying the audience who loves the brutality -- with clip after clip of knees crashing repeatedly into unprotected skulls and eye sockets and blood spilling out as though it were poured onto the mat from a bucket. The narrative is compelling. The sequences are dramatic and hard-hitting.

I had the privilege of meeting both Mark Kerr and Mark Coleman at the premiere of this documentary. I cannot say I still wasn't shaking my head and asking "why?" but for them this sort of thing is their badge of pride -- and in many cases, their only paycheck.

Check it out.


10 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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