Year Released: 2012
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 63 minutes
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Filmmaker Jason Abelha’s Mack Attack: The Mack-u-Mentary is a documentary about a luchador-style masked wrestler from Fall River, Massachusetts, named Monster Mack. Over the course of his decade plus as a wrestler, the colorful and charismatic Monster Mack started a training school, guested on public access wrestling shows and ultimately became the host of his own show, The Monster Mack Show. As the hour-long film rolls, we are told the tale of Monster Mack via talking head interviews, shown footage from his more important matches and shown footage from his shows and other public appearances.
Much like the public access show that Monster Mack hosts, the aesthetic of the documentary is decidedly lo-fi and of a previous era. Even though Monster Macks first match is listed as taking place in 2001, well after pro-sumer digital cameras dropped to affordable prices, most, if not all, footage in this film appears to be shot on VHS, including the interviews. Coupled with the rough audio from matches and interviews, and a score that sounds less like it’s coming from the screen and more like it’s something screwy going on in your own head, the entire affair feels like an old wrestling VHS tape you’d find for $0.50 at the Salvation Army. This is not necessarily a bad thing, because there is a throwback consistency to the entire experience that, if you embrace it for the nostalgia it can induce, can actually be fun.
If you’re a fan of Monster Mack and/or the various wrestling groups he’s worked in, like Alliance Championship Wrestling (ACW), then I think you’ll get far more out of this film than those without any prior knowledge. While you do learn quite a bit about Monster Mack’s journey, enough to follow the story, it can only help the audience to have an acquired appreciation of the numerous participants. Otherwise it’s just a bunch of people you don’t know chatting about someone you’ve never heard of and footage of wrestling matches that are of value to the people onscreen, but foreign to the audience.
This is a fun documentation of a major character in the subculture of professional wresting, and I think that fans will find much to enjoy in this film. In its way, the film is as much a form of legend-making promotional material as any other gimmick Monster Mack has employed, though there is a historical value to putting it all on tape in a more approachable form, particularly the “greatest hits” footage of matches that otherwise might only exist on a VHS somewhere, never to be seen.
Even casual fans of wrestling, and the subculture surrounding professional wrestling, will find something to enjoy here. But if you’re not already inclined towards the sport or that world, this film will likely leave you cold. If the subject matter doesn’t interest you, the lo-fi aesthetic just becomes horrible to see and hear, and the conversations and events onscreen become boring.
This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.
Posted on April 27, 2012 in Reviews by Mark Bell
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