"The Resurrection of Jake the Snake" is a documentary that many may assume only appeals to wrestling fans, or to be even narrower, WWE Fans. This does a great injustice to a film that, at its core, is about addiction and recovery. WWE produces some great pieces about their stars, past and present, but this is not a WWE film. This film is a raw, gritty, emotional roller coaster that leaves the viewer at times in tears of both joy and sadness. It can be uncomfortable to watch at times. It is supposed to be. Addiction cannot be truly documented in a glossed over fashion. Will fans of Jake "The Snake" Roberts enjoy this film? Of course. But you will come away knowing more about Aurelian Smith Jr., the man behind the wrestling tights and python. That is where this film is different, and will be captivating for those who know little to nothing about him or professional wrestling. Many media outlets seemingly took great joy in covering Jake's downfall over the last decade-plus. His battles with addiction played out in the public eye on many occasions, and he easily could have been "just another statistic" for talking heads to bring up when another wrestler dies. His battle back to sobriety, harmony with his children, and harmony with himself is brilliantly captured over the course of over two years of filming. This is also a story of fame, and the effects of its absence. It is about brotherhood. Brotherhood, and the fraternity and bond between two men is ultimately what saved Aurelian Smith and resurrected Jake the Snake. I have seen it said that this film is a "WWE hype piece" or that it is an "infomercial for DDP Yoga." This makes me wonder if any of these reviewers actually watched the film, or if they did, how often they looked up from their mobile device or whatever it is they were working on at the time, because they clearly came in knowing only a synopsis and with a preconceived notion of the film. Is WWE footage in the film? Yes. Which is really quite amazing as they are guarded with the use of their material. As a publicly traded company that now tries to provide family friendly content, having their footage in a film such as this, that has very strong language at times and deals very frankly with the subject of abuse and addiction, as well as the injuries stemming from a life in the ring, probably was not an easy decision. I would assume it was given only out of respect to Jake and the importance of the story being told. To say that this is a WWE hype piece is absurd. Did Dallas Page use his yoga program to help Jake get back in shape and find some focus? Absolutely. But it is a small portion of the film and the many steps Jake had to take to battle back. If you add up the screen time that features anyone doing yoga, I do not think it could amount to five minutes. To act as if a 900 number is popping up on the screen every five minutes is disrespectful to the passion Steven Yu clearly had in making this film and to the love and friendship that Dallas has for Jake. The 93 minutes of this film flew by. I personally cannot wait to watch it again and share it with others. What I am most excited about is sharing it with those who don't care about wrestling, those who have never heard of Jake. I want to see if they are as moved and affected as I was, because I truly believe that this film has something to offer everyone. Obviously, I'm a fan of wrestling, and a lifelong fan of Jake. This film was personal for me. It was hard seeing the man I idolized at five years old in such a self- destructive state. The fact that he was able to finally battle back and find his redemption is something that should be celebrated. This film does that, chronicling every step of the journey that brought him there. I commend Jake, Dallas Page, and Steve Yu for bringing this to us. I also hope and believe that it will be a wake-up call to those battling addiction to reach out for help, and see that no matter how badly the monster has its claws wrapped around them, there is always hope.
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