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"Deadliest Warrior"
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38 out of 48 people found the following review useful:

Action heavy, logic lapsed

Author: dorotka24 from United States
20 May 2009

I must first say about this series that the premise is outstanding, and one that has crossed my mind on numerous occasions. What would happen if a medieval knight met up with a samurai? Who would be victorious in battle?

The show then attempts to determine whom is the better warrior amongst two different kinds in history - in many cases two warriors that are separated by many centuries. The arms and armors available to these warriors are demonstrated, both in their lethal potential or in their stopping power in the case of armor. The demonstrations are fascinating, including weapons experts that strike or fire their weapons at ballistics gel encased, and presumably reproduction skeletons. A physician or medical specialist then examines the footage, or the dummy in some cases, and describes the type of trauma inflicted. At the end, we get a well choreographed fight between two re-enactors dressed in costume to simulate the potential outcome of such a contest, as well as a statistics model that determines the winner in 1,000 contests. I like this concept because despite the advantages a particular warrior might possess over another, the randomness of combat will ensure that even the presumably better warrior will lose at least a percentage of the time.

The problems with the show are many, however, and seriously challenge the credibility of the participants. As others have pointed out, a warrior is more than the sum of his weapons and armor, which the show spends the most amount of time demonstrating. I think the premise could be dropped and have the show focus on weapons demonstrations only. Although the mindset, culture, tactics, and goals of each warrior are mentioned, these descriptions are brief and superficial. In addition,the hypothetical combats displayed are all duels. Most of the warriors portrayed would rarely, if ever, be faced with a duel situation, instead fighting in a unit of many soldiers/warriors. The worst part for me has to be the banter or trash talk between the weapons experts representing each respective warrior. It reminds me of a WWE matchup or a pre-boxing/MMA trash session instead of a presumably serious and/or scientific look at a hypothetical combat situation.

At any rate, I do enjoy the show because it has many good aspects. But the flaws do not make for "must-see" TV. If they would focus a little more on the tactics, drop the banter, and perhaps consider tactical unit combat instead of duels, I believe the show would be much improved. The producers are obviously trying to cater to a younger, action thirsty crowd, perhaps in an effort to make history more interesting. I applaud this rationale if nothing else, but the more discriminating viewers with a desire for logical and factual history, such as myself, are often left wanting.

If any wish for a superior show with similarities to DW, check out an earlier History Channel series called "Conquest" with Peter Woodward. The latter is more mature, yet still with some light hearted moments. It covers nearly every criticism I have for DW and then some (see my review).

EDIT: I had not seen Season 3 prior to this original review, and S3 does cover some of my criticisms for the first two Seasons. The banter here has been toned down substantially and the combats all consist of units fighting each other. The warrior's mindsets, values, and motivations are explored with the addition of Richard Machowicz. I also liked the addition of the "X Factors" as well, or somewhat intangible characteristics such as mental health or physical fitness which could positively or negatively impact a side's performance. Overall the changes added a more serious and scientific component to the show that was a substantial improvement IMO.

There are still a few problems that I saw, particularly with the tendency to match two opponents who were not a very good matchup to begin with. Hannibal and Genghis Khan was a good example, as they were separated by nearly 1,400 years and Khan's armor and weapons technology was far superior. Same could be said of William the Conqueror and Joan of Arc. It was a little silly to see a unit of five men firing a heavy artillery piece at each other as well. The elite modern soldiers did not have weapons that they most likely would have carried. I am particularly thinking about the Rangers/North Korea and Gurkha/French Foreign Legion in that all these soldiers would have probably carried hand grenades and a pistol of some kind. Roosevelt/Lawrence of Arabia or even Washington/Napolean would have probably had pistols as well. Oddly enough, only Pancho Villa/Crazy Horse were depicted carrying pistols.

In general, the format changes in S3 were an improvement and I enjoyed it quite a bit more than the previous seasons.

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29 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

Fun, but not accurate

Author: mike-ryan455 from United States
26 April 2010

Don't get me wrong. This ranks up there with my other low brow comedy shows on Spike like "1,000 ways to die." It's great for something to relax to, and watching people get splattered makes it all the more fun. But accurate it is not.

Their firearms knowledge is ludicrous. For example, on the Yakuza vs. Mafia episode they stated the Yakuza used the Walther P-38 pistol. Yet the graphics they showed were of a P-08 Luger. These are two totally, totally different looking pistols designed close to half a century apart. They had the IRA carrying a Boer War period .455 Webley revolver and they touted its reliability over a Makarov. I own both. There is no comparison between the Makarov and the Webley. You can't hit the broad side of a barn with a Webley.

They do not test uniformly. In the Yakuza vs. Mafia episode, the Mafia had six machine gun targets they had to hit with the Thompson. The Yakuza only had four they had to hit with a Sten. That gave the Sten an easier score. Worse still, they used completely different ways of testing the Russian hand grenade and the US hand grenade. Why not do something logical - put three pig carcases up in an enclosed room and see how each grenade does? It's a uniform test? I shouldn't expect too much from Spike. It's unabashedly guy TV, and I like that. But they could do a lot better job with a little more care.

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22 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

Who Is This Deranged Show Produced For ?

Author: Theo Robertson from Isle Of Bute, Scotland
31 July 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This is a notorious show that came to the British publics attention with one episode that featured The Taliban versus the IRA . Many people thought it was some sort of urban myth but no - it's a real show and what the point of it is I have no idea because as history it fails and it often goes beyond even car crash TV style entertainment

The show revolves around a bunch of experts but they're not really experts . The Taliban/IRA episode features " IRA descendant and historian " Skoti Collins who if you look up his CV on this site will find that he's not a historian he is a professional actor . Maybe he's playing a historian ? Actually the show could do with a historian since it states " The IRA lost the war of independence in 1920 " Hmmm so how did the Irish Free State / Republic Of Ireland come in to being then ? We get to see reconstructions of IRA operations against the British army and you're left in no doubt that the provisional IRA seen here are no different from the IRA of the Anglo-Irish war of 1920 . The IRA wear a uniform and confine their campaign to military targets so there's no scenes of civilians being murdered because they're protestants or suspected informers . . Team Taliban are just as badly inaccurate since they're represented by an Afghan actor who supposedly fought the Soviets in his youth . I don't doubt Fahim Fazil did this . What I do doubt is that he qualifies as former Taliban because he's even described as " Mujuhideen Freedom Fighter " which you read even the most basic history book on Afghanistan you'll learn the Muj and the Talibs are two entirely separate organizations . Eventually in a scenario the IRA beat the Taliban in a battle that many people would find offensive if it wasn't so laugh out loud funny . Strangely in a later show the IRA are beaten by the Spetnatz . Can anyone notice a gap in logic to this ? If the Afghans beat the Soviets and the Afghans lost to the IRA what's the chances the IRA would lose to the Spetnatz ?

The other episodes are somewhat tame compared to this debacle . We see Braveheart vs Chaka Zulu with the two teams throwing insults like " Your grass skirt won't save you Zulu " and " Ah'm gonna have a Scottish barbecue " along with dubious facts that " The Scottish claymore was a long range weapon " ! Long range as in five feet is a long way away ? We see the Waffen SS take on the Viet Cong . Strangely stringing up civilians with piano wire and shooting POWs don't feature too heavily in the information given for the SS . And there's a ridiculous anachronism saying that " If you had fillings you weren't allowed to join the SS and had to show you were of Aryan stock . This is true when it was recruiting in the 1930s - not when it was fighting in the 1940s . In fact the Waffen SS happily recruited Slavs from the Balkans like the 13th and 14th Waffen SS divisions . Likewise the show describes the punji stick as deadly but there's no documented case of an American soldier being killed by a punji stick

My abiding opinion of this show is that it's like " MYTHBUSTERS on acid " Some dubious enjoyment might be had on seeing what the weapons can do but since the rest of the show doesn't care one ounce for any sort of research or accuracy how does the audience know that the stage explosions etc are in any way accurate . Certainly the show's major failing is that it's very , very poor history indeed and I would hate it if anyone watching it thought any information put out was worth listening to

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26 out of 43 people found the following review useful:

Decent Entertainment

Author: kstulik from United States
22 April 2009

Deadliest Warrior turns out to be decent schlock entertainment, but like many good contemporary shows, turns out to be fairly informative. The notion that you could actually determine who is the deadliest warrior in history is silly, not because they compare warriors from completely different times who could've never met anyway, but rather because the match-ups are all out of context -- Gladiator vs. Apache? C'mon.

The show features a few regulars and then some guest warriors who specialize not only in knowledge of the particular warriors but who also are masters of the particular fighting styles and weapons of their particular historical warrior as well. The two different modern warrior groups usually trash-talk each other in goofy machismo fashion; I think they're being serious but it's good for a laugh.

Each show demonstrates the period weapons and their capability against fairly realistic human analogs. For instance, they smash in the head of a dummy with a tomahawk, and the dummy is a simulated skull with simulated brain matter surrounded by ballistics gel. When the skull flies apart, so does the brain matter; it's pretty graphic even though it's just a dummy. There are a few extremely impressive demonstrations of skill by the guest warriors, so that's cool to see.

The "computer program" they run at the end to determine who would win the most times out of 1000 appears to be some cheesy spreadsheet. I'm sure there's more to it, but they offer zero in terms of methodology, adding to the goofiness. The final battle simulation at the very end is pretty cool though, and it nicely ties in all of the weapons that were tested in the lab.

In all, I gave this show a 7 because despite several cornball facets to it, it really is entertaining to watch, occasionally funny, pretty interesting and -- the best part -- informative. I watch it with my two middle-school sons and they love it, and the show always evokes some good discussions of martial history between us. Oh, and although I can find no indication of who the narrator is, it sounds exactly like David Wenham from 300.

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12 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

I am embarrassed to enjoy this

Author: therealcromar from Florida
26 May 2010

Explaining the premise of this show to someone is truly humiliating. I'd rather just not bring it up. For those who don't know, it's a "who would win" contest where they choose warriors from history who never had a chance to fight. Often times these warriors are separated by centuries or even millenia, but they try to make the matchups as fair as possible.

It's a fun show to watch. Certainly the best part of the show is watching the weapon experts at work. The horseback archery from Attila vs Alexander, the blademaster from William Wallace vs Shaka Zulu, and the quickdraw and trick shooting from Jesse James vs Al Capone come to mind as some of my favorite moments.

Unfortunately, it's got a lot of problems. They are very, very loose with historical accuracy, and often they do an awful job of picking weapons - especially with the modern day warriors. They rarely test armor and almost never test shields - only the Spartan and the Viking had a real shield test. The outcome is decided by a simulator which runs on magic, and the decisions are questionable at best.

The choreographed fights are hit or miss. Some are thrilling, like Apache vs Gladiator, but some are downright stupid, like Roman Centurion vs Rajput Warrior, where the Roman throws his shield aside for no reason halfway through. They also rarely, if ever, show actions in the choreographed fights that match up with the tests or results.

This is definitely "turn your brain off", guts, gore, and splodin'-style entertainment. Actually, who am I kidding? You already knew if you were going to watch this show when you read the synopsis. You are either the right audience, or you aren't.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Really, really awful, but better than nothing

Author: engima571 from Washington, United States
23 February 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I first saw this show in 2009 when it first came out, and was quite excited.It promised to deliver interesting outcomes from hypothetical battles between some of the most famous warriors of all time. I was perfectly happy watching it in '09, but when I caught up with it in '12, it looked just plain awful. This show was clearly written with the most casual military/weapon enthusiast in mind, because it quite honestly has little to no credibility or realism. Many of the so-called "experts" are shown handling their weapons as if they were toys, keeping their fingers on the triggers and waving the muzzles at the cameras, generally having little respect for the weapons they're holding. Many of the actors representing the various armed forces lack even basic training in the use of firearms (See: Viet Cong vs. Waffen SS) and are sometimes shown with a complete misrepresentation of the weapons, gear, and uniforms issued to those forces (See: Green Beret vs. Spetsnaz and Viet Cong vs. Waffen SS). On top of that, incorrect data is often shown when displaying the weapons during the show's trials, further demonstrating the lack of attention to detail that goes into this show's production. The biggest problem that I have with this show overall is that it completely misrepresents how a conflict would have turned out between any two forces, particularly because the only factors that are utilized in choosing the "victors" are the show's dismal understanding of weapon specs and poorly-informed personal opinion on the part of the hosts. The value of a weapon or a piece of equipment is determined chiefly by the skill of the operator, and this show completely ignores this critical area in favor of Call of Duty-style showboating, bad special effects, and bunch of idiots attempting to figure out how weapons work. I enjoy this show (and I use that term very loosely) when there is literally nothing else on TV, but otherwise, I'll pass on it.

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9 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

question accuracy

Author: noblegrand41 from United States
18 May 2010

As others have stated there are certain problems with each separate episode. As an example Al Capone vs. Jesse James. There were no handguns used by Al Capone which was inaccurate. The use of the Chicago typewriter had all ammunition used in one continuous burst -- which action could be questioned. The Chicago typewriter could have been fired in shorter bursts to allow more accurate along with more sustained firepower without reloading.

In this episode Al Capone could have carried a Colt .45 1911 or other handgun. There would have been a difference in the amount of handgun firepower between a Colt .45 1911 and a Colt .45 Peacemaker revolver.

Also either side could have been armed with a 10 or 12 gauge shotgun which could have also made a difference in the outcome. In my opinion all avenues were not explored or considered.

In other episodes there seems to be questions in regards to individual combat vs. warriors who are used to fighting in groups. There are many differences in methods used during these confrontations, which should be taken into consideration along with an individual person's ability.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Considering what shows are on TV...

Author: j-kirby247 from United States
29 March 2012

Basic Story Guide:

Everyone has asked the question: If such-and-such fought this guy, who would win? Well, this show puts these fighters to test. Two fighters from both the pre-gunpowder and gunpowder eras, they have their weapons tested, and then in a simulation run over 1000 times, the winner is the one with the highest score.


I kind of enjoyed this series for a while. I really did. I enjoyed the series because it was fun, not because I am a history major, or ancient weapons expert, but because of what I am looking for when watching T.V. which is entertainment. I don't care about the logic behind the stunt, as long as the stunt is good. I'll throw the B.S. flag if I have to, but I'll continue watching the movie. Kind of a round about way to say I just want to be entertained.

But I really hate the announcer who does the whole David Wenham from 300 narration of the weapons. Overly exaggerating the weapons. Like saying "The Such-and-such spear, a three foot instrument of death." Two episodes later, "The some-screwed-up-tribes-name trident, a four foot razor sharp spear for maximum slaughter."

But if that is not bad enough, the guys who wield the weapons for their fighter are just annoying. Pardon my language, but they are constantly pissing and moaning, complaining that their weapon is better. God, it is so annoying. Some muscle bound jock who is either a member of the army, or just some know-it-all, arguing that an ax beats their sword, or that a gun is more effective than the other guys gun.

Either way I used to enjoy it, now it's just gotten annoying. And don't me started on season 3.


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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Questionable testing, and tactically unsound. Not to mention accuracy issues

Author: Nick Barber from United States
11 February 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Where to begin with this show... Lets start with what I like about it. Learning about the weapons of each group is great, the tests are accurate at measuring damage. The trash talking is kind of funny.

Now what to what I don't like...

They test a lot of one on one battles where as the the groups may not fight in one on one. example *Spoiler* Mongol vs Commanche. The mongols fought as a group and had the largest empire in history, the commanche got pushed out by the US government in a short period of time. Also a skill factor comes in, the mongol warrior was trained in martial arts, none of that was tested or taken into variable.

Other issues include unreasonable testing. Of course the army with steel armor is going to win against the army with leather armor.

*Spoiler* Vlad the Impaler vs Sun Tzu. Sun Tzu was a genius in warfare, Vlad was just a lunatic who killed a lot of people. Strategy in this episode would have been a huge variable. It also was a one on one battle. This is a huge issue, if you wanted to compare them, they should have done at least a 5 man simulation.

Bias is another issue I see in this show *spoiler* Swat vs GSG9 episode.

SWAT are local in any major city in the USA. GSG9 is Germany's elite counter terrorist team. The gave an edge to SWAT for unsound reasons, their assault rifle, and special weapon. Reality is the mid range assault rifles of each group are equal, there is no edge to either. as for the special weapons, the immobile large group stun gun is not versatile like the GSG9 stun grenade. GSG9 was one of the inspirations to Clancy's Rainbow Six. Swat was not. Another issue, GSG9 is a single group, not in every major city, so there is little variation. SWAT is in every major city, and they all vary.

Overall for a show. the weapons testing from a damage point of view is cool, however they don't put in situational and tactical information, and very little history variables. Cool to watch damage testing, bad on validity and accuracy.

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8 out of 13 people found the following review useful:

Inaccurate junk food that doesn't taste reasonable but seems to do the job

Author: Peter Hendriks from Netherlands
8 April 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I love history, mythology, legendary warriors and the ancient arts of war a lot. Once i noticed this show i was very much looking forward to it. And since i watched the entire first season in one day i can conclude that it kept my interest. But i also love science. Accurate, fair and logical sounding science. That part frustrated me a lot. So in total what was the show like?

Lets start with the thing i loved the most. The weapons! Of course we know a lot about the 'Tommy Gun', William Wallace's insane sword and the weapon of weapons: the legendary Katana. But seeing them do their job in power testing action was surprisingly interesting. The pure impact of some weapons was absolutely astonishing. Also the effect on the gel torso's, pigs, skulls, pieces of wood and other test objects was captured pretty well from a cinematographical (?) perspective.

But when the show got to its point of comparison i found myself swearing a lot. It felt really suggestive, hardly consistent, accurate or logical most of the time. Its like the challenges in Top Gear on the BBC. They seem to be planning everything to be very close. It felt hugely scripted, hardly accurate and hardly proper scientific. I don't know if im right but it looked like agility and supporting weapons had no effect in the system whatsoever. Pure muscle seem to win most of the time. That just didn't make sense.

Example: 'Spoiler'

Ninja vs Spartan We all know that the effect of pepperspray is pretty intense right? I saw people hyperventilating, puking etc. The ninja seem to use something like that, but also pulverised glass for the eyes. Would a Spartan warrior really blink his eyes one time and go on fighting? Just because he was trained to have physical pain? That just sounds rubbish. Out of a 1000 battles the ninja could these sort of tricks over and over again. Why? Because the spartan warrior was made just like a roman warrior to fight entire armies. To work in a group, forming one big shield and deal devastating attacks to huge and not agile moving masses of flesh. The ninja is a one on one specialist. But according to the system he looses 65% of the time due to heavy damage the spartan can deal. But leaving a man cripple on the ground as the effect of glass or pepper in your eye will lead to the same thing. A ninjato in you neck, which is an instant kill. I got the feeling the system did not counter these sort of combo attacks, if you could call i that.

There seem to be a lot more of these plot holes. Which at times can get really frustrating. But when your looking for good fun and the effect that some weapons have, do watch. You'll enjoy it!

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