Mack Attack: The Mack-U-Mentary (2012) – By Josh Samford

Although few outsiders would agree with my views on professional wrestling, and I would even say that most wrestlers themselves would disagree,I view pro-wrestling as a rather genuine form of American theater. While it rarely packs the emotional appeal of King Lear, there is a strange mixture of audience participation and performer ad-libbing that makes it very special. There is a lot more to being a successful wrestler than simply having a good look or knowing a great move set. Charisma is required, a quick mind to sustain the drama in the ring, and there is certainly a decent amount of acting required for the role. It is a form of Broadway entertainment that includes all facets of live performing, but in the midst of the performance one must also perform a nauseatingly high number of physical movements. Most of these moves will be ad-libbed throughout the course of any given match. All of this is mostly applicable for the big shows, such as the WWE and TNA Wrestling, but far from the sparkling lights of these televised shows, we have the world of independent wrestling. Within the world of independent wrestling, you will find a subculture that is even more inclusive than what can be found in the big shows. There are areas throughout the US where local wrestling is still a big thing, and there have even been some promotions that have done huge things. Ring of Honor (or ROH) is a promotion that has proven to be a collective hive for the biggest and best talents that the business has seen. Other organizations, such as Chikara, have made a name for themselves for their sense of humor and wildly eclectic performers. However, the film we are talking about today takes place even further from the lights that shine out on these small professional wrestling organizations. Mack Attack shows us the world of truly independent wrestling, and introduces us to a very strange wrestler by the name of Monster Mack.

Taking place within the world of Massachusetts independent wrestling, our story follows a professional wrestler by the name of Monster Mack (perhaps taking his name from the Sir Mix-a-Lot song?), who quickly becomes a small star within the local scene. Starting off his career alongside Peter Crave and various other wrestlers in the scene, we follow Mack as he earns a shot on a locally televised program known as "Wrestling View." This lights a bug under Monster Mack, and it persuades him to move on to his own television show. Beginning as a talk show, The Monster Mack Show evolved into a very ambitious comedy effort that blends with Monster Mack’s wrestling goals. Featuring his trainees and friends, the show becomes the main focus of our documentary.

Mack Attack is a very strange little documentary effort. Although the topic may not be something that people are clamoring for, due to the obscure nature of this “scene,” I am still a sucker when it comes to peering into small insular cultures. Mack Attack most certainly does fit that description, as this may be one of the most obscure characters that I have seen as the focus for any documentary that has passed by my desk in a while. Monster Mack himself is about as peculiar a character as they come. Looking like a generic luchador wrestler, he wears a mask at all times to cover his face. However, his in-ring style doesn’t seem to be what one normally expects from a luchador. Limited flying off the top ropes, no insane bouncing around the ring, and he most certainly is not from Mexico, Monster Mack defies conventional expectations. When he speaks, he does so with a very brazen Northern accent, and his particular style of humor almost seems like drunken rambling. There is no getting past the fact that this gentleman certainly has a style of his own, and over the course of an hour, the audience will get to know him about as well as any person outside of this gated community could.

Essentially, this is a talking-head interview style of documentary. The only thing that really separates this from other films in the same style is that the interviews are very much done in a kayfabe style. This adds some intrigue to the project, but generally tends to hurt it more than anything. For those who don’t know, kayfabe is industry jargon for the act of performers portraying what happens in wrestling as "real." This hardly seems necessary any more, as audiences have become more accustomed with the inner-workings of the business, but this documentary presents itself less as a true exploration of Monster Mack’s story – and more about the fictional events that have transpired to put him in the position that he finds himself. While I was relatively interested in hearing about the background details involved in the creation of The Monster Mack Show, the movie instead dances around the real life issues and instead talks about Monster Mack’s tenure as a wrestling champion. This is probably for the betterment of the wrestling promotion, because the movie includes clips from several of Monster Mack’s most poignant matches, but it doesn’t actually tell those of us outside of Massachusetts much about what is really going on. While certainly not filled to the brim with awesome action or great camera work, the shows do appear fun, and the clips that are presented do not drag the movie down.

There are numerous interesting moments that are explored during the course of Monster Mack’s story. His first shot on television has him showcasing a segment that was apparently focused on wrestling bloopers, but he must have been given a decent amount of leeway because the majority of the clips shown do not seem to feature botches or mistakes. Instead, the segment appeared to focus on Monster Mack going insane while showing off several clips from Japanese wrestling organizations. I am pretty sure many of the clips came from Japanese wrestling promotion FMW, who were notorious for their insane death matches (matches usually involving fire, barbed wire, and thumbtacks). You will find yourself in awe watching Monster Mack jump around while some poor Japanese guy writhes around, gushing blood, in the background. This marks just one of the few key moments that kept me fully intrigued while watching this short documentary.

Overall, I can’t say that Mack Attack: The Mack-U-Mentary is a “great” documentary. It offers a glimpse inside of a small group, and it is interesting, but it suffers from severe budgetary restraints and lack of rapid fire direction. Still, for pro-wrestling fans (or anyone from Massachusetts who has familiarity with this character), this should prove to be worth a watch. You can read more about Monster Mack via the Monster Mack blog at

http://themonstermackshow.wordpress.com

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