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VAMPIRO: ANGEL, DEVIL, HERO
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Reviewed by: Mike Catalano

Directed by: Lee Demarbre

Starring:
Ian Hodgkinson

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
In depth documentary following famous wrestler Ian Hodgkinson aka "Vampiro" in his efforts to bring the bravado of what happens in the ring to gracious spectators around the world.
Is it good movie?
No, this is NOT a horror movie about some bad-ass vampire. Don't worry. I too was fooled by the title as well as the cover box art. Once I got over my initial gasps that my DVD player was now harnessing a documentary, I settled in for this wrestlemanic's ride.

Thankfully, this doc was about bad-ass overseas wrestling and one super bad (and charismatic) muscle-bound athlete. Yeah, I may not be a big-time documentary fan, but VAMPIRO fortunately came equipped with enough hardnosed and even humorous headlocks to keep me watching.

Hodgkinson himself, is truly the driving force behind the whole film (obviously). It's a good thing he comes off as truly passionate about the goals he's attempting to accomplish within the sport that he clearly loves. The dude really does go all out in order to pimp the wrestling events of which he is the main draw, working non-stop on the match's choreography and then the promoting of said event and then the organization of the electronics and then even setting up the seating at the venue. Hard work is a term that Hodgkinson clearly has thoroughly learned. I only wish his dialect and mannerisms had come off as a bit more educated.

I was just a bit put off by the "thug-like" undertones of Hodgkinson's dialect whenever he was addressing the camera, describing either what he was doing or how he rose to prominence. It really detracted from the great effort and seriousness that he seemed to have went through in the process of accomplishing his dreams. In fact, he and a past associate even reminisce fondly about actual criminal acts they partook in. Maybe if I was some low-life degenerate, I'd find amusement whithin the fond recollections, however I found that it detracted from Hodgkinson's credibility as a sound businessman/role model. I really have no clue why director, Lee Demarbre, included an aspect such as this within the film.

Despite the "criminal" aspect, there were some things I really enjoyed about the flick. First off, was the revelation that Hodgkinson was indeed a very prominent "crew" member of Milli Vanilla. That's right, the actual lip-sync-ers themselves! Apparently, Hodgkinson was their unofficial bodyguard and there are pics to prove it. I couldn't believe how crazy it was hearing about how he was all there amidst their rise to fame and then fast fall.

I also dug a really well-shot and edited bit involving Hodgkinson rehearsing with a bunch of fellow wrestlers. We see him walking through each move he's explaining between cuts of the actual event later on where all the moves are performed. What was truly rockin' about this sequence was that although it shows that professional wrestling may not be 100% real competition, it is still very much real. The moves that the wrestlers need to perform obviously requires a large amount of athleticism, which was both refreshing and very cool.

I've gotta say that even if you're one of those dudes who thinks that documentaries are for nerds, you may want to give VAMPIRO a try. Especially if you grew up watching the WWF.

Video / Audio
Video Widescreen 1.84:1

Audio English 5.1 Dolby Digital

The Extras
An Alternate Ending.

A Deleted Scenes index.

And a Photo Gallery.

Last Call
It's a documentary, but it's a bad-ass wrestler's documentary! Any fan of the sport should thoroughly get into this. Vampiro may not be a monster, but his prowess and following is certainly quite scary.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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