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Thursday, February 26, 2009

DVD REVIEW: ‘Kayfabe’ – A Fake Real Movie About A Fake Real Sport

--Steven Wilson of MainEventRadio.com

Over the years wrestling themed movies have generally been hit or miss. The Wrestler is a smash hit, while Ready to Rumble was, well, I think we all know what Ready to Rumble was. Now Kayfabe Entertainment brings us their entry entitled “Kayfabe”.

Sporting the tag line of “A fake real movie about a fake real sport” this comedy follows a fictional independent wrestling company during its final days. Much like the popular TV series The Office, it is shot mockumentary style and pulls back the curtain on the world of independent wrestling. Wrestling fans can be reassured that this is not a film created by a bunch of Hollywood types who know nothing about the wrestling business as the story is based off of real life experiences of one of the film’s creators Pete Smith, who aside from being a well accomplished lawyer in real life, has also moonlighted as a professional wrestler since the late 80’s. In the film his character, The Rocket Randy Tyler, finds himself the TCICWF champion in the company’s dyeing days. Attendance has been down, the wrestlers barely get paid, and the promoter, “The Legendary Al Thompson” is so fed up of the business that he is throwing in the towel, informing Taylor that he is not renewing the lease on the company’s venue. Tyler then quickly finds himself in the charge of the group when the promoter goes incognito in the weeks leading to the final show. The cast of characters is typical of any indy wrestling lockerroom, you have the one guy who has been to the big leagues but has since been chewed up and spit back out, you’ve got the rookie looking to make a name for himself, the happy go lucky jobber looking for a break, the company’s lackey who will do anything to just be involved in someway shape or form, not to mention the promoter’s daughter, the guy who comes off like a homosexual, and of course Randy Tyler, the solid worker with a mind for the business side of the company. Having been in or around indy wrestling for the better part of the past decade I can attest that the characters ring true, as does the stories they tell. You get a taste of why they risk their necks and bust their butts to do what they do, you learn about the backstage behavior and relationships, while also getting bombarded by the ribs and jokes along the way.

Press materials for the film mentions how it covers a lot of the same ground The Wrestler did, but with a comedic angle, And while it does cover some of the same independent wrestling ground, this is a completely different film, not only because it’s a comedy, but also because its in no way a story centered around a single individual. Press materials also stress that both wrestling fans and non wrestling fans alike can enjoy this film. A claim which was certainly made about The Wrestler, but speaking to non wrestling fans who watched the wrestler, I often got the reaction that they loved the personal story it told, but didn’t necessarily enjoy the wrestling scenes. With Kayfabe being in a way more about pro wrestling than The Wrestler was, I would have to say that only those non wrestling fans who wonder why wrestlers do what they do will enjoy this film, Meanwhile actual wrestling fans are guaranteed to love this film, as its not only hilarious, but gives its proper due to the world they love.

Also like The Wrestler, before being released to the masses, this film made the rounds in numerous festivals garnering much praise along the way, including the Best Canadian Indie Feature at the Okanagan Film Festival, the Audience Choice Award at the Eugene International Film Festival and was a double winner at the Lakedance Film Festival scoring Best Comedy and Best Mockumentary awards. The praise is much deserved. For a small independent release, shot in less than 2 weeks, it’s presentation is impressive.

Extras for the DVD include a feature length commentary with the film’s creators and stars, As well as deleted scenes with optional commentary, and I’d definitely say its worth picking up as its not too often you see something of this quality come along in the wrestling world.

Kayfabe is now available on DVD from Kayfabe Entertainment Corp via the film’s official website at www.kayfabemovie.com, To read my previous DVD reviews head on over to www.wrestlingdvdreviews.vze.com or add the myspace via www.myspace.com/wrestlingdvdreviews