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DVD Review: Deadliest Warrior – Season One

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Written by Fantasma el Rey

Airing on Spike TV and now in its second season, Deadliest Warrior is a show that pits two of history's most notable warriors against each other. With a team of professionals on set armed with the latest in computer and science technology the show is one of the best on Spike TV. A wonderful “what if” scenario with some surprises as to outcomes. Fans of history will appreciate the work put into making this show a good display of what each warrior was capable of.

Each episode is about 45-minutes long and highlights the skills of two different warriors. Good examples are "Apache vs. Gladiator," "Viking vs. Samurai," "Spartan vs. Ninja," "Pirate vs. Knight," "Shaolin Monk vs. Maori Warrior," and in a special episode "William Wallace vs. Shaka Zulu." Some cases seem like David vs. Goliath and the outcome seems cut and dried, which is not always the case as there are some surprise endings. Each warrior is represented by five or so of his best weapons, some not so well known. Some of these warriors carry into battle weapons made of bronze, iron, and steel (swords, knives, shields, helmets, and axes) while others carries simple weapons made from wood, stone, and others materials (clubs lined with shark teeth, spears with stingray-spiked tips, blow guns, and poisons of different types used in various ways) native to their homeland.

A core team of professionals is on site and run the show. They include Geoffrey Desmoulin (biomedical engineer), Max Geiger (computer programmer), and Dr. Armand Dorian (emergency-room doctor/trauma expert) while specialists of each warriors' customs, culture, and weapon usage are brought in to help conduct the testing. Each weapon and warrior is explained, and viewers see the weapon in use and get a chance to see the damage it can cause. The weapons are divided into categories: long range, mid range, close range, and special weapon. The weapons are demonstrated and tested against each other accordingly using replica human gel torsos filled with artificial organs and blood; pig carcasses are also used as their flesh is the closest to human. The latest technology is used in testing to capture speed, motion, and shock impacted on the body; all this comes into play in the final outcome.

After the demonstration, the damage is observed to see the potential injuries caused or if the blow is a kill, that’s where the trauma doctor comes in. The tests are discussed by the team who decide which weapons might have the “edge” in battle. After the tests are concluded and all the data has been inputted into a specially designed computer program that simulates 1,000 battles, a winner is decided. To make the show more interesting, we get to watch a recreation of what the battle may have looked like. These reenactments are actually quite well done and give a final look at how the warrior may have chosen to use his weapons against an opponent he has never seen before.

The episodes vary in same cases when it comes to the more modern “warriors” chosen to square off against one another: "Yakuza vs. Mafia", "Green Beret vs. Spetsnaz," and "I.R.A. vs. Taliban." These episodes differ slightly in testing for the fact that some of the weapons are firearms and explosives. The guns and rifles are tested pretty much the same way using the gel torsos while the explosives tests use the gel torso and devices used to check the blast and shockwave damage. The reenactments are also slightly different because the final computer analyses is conducted using groups of five against five, a good number to represent a “warrior” who usually never really fought one on one and works well in a small group.

It's a better show than I thought it would be, as the Spike channel, when it comes to their original entertainment, can be quite lame aside from the UFC events they show. They now have two good shows (depending on how one feels about pro wrestling) that keep me tuning in. The warriors and weapons are explained and displayed well while the expert team is informative and knowledgeable. Season One even has UFC veteran Chuck Liddell stop in as a special guest to help test some of the gladiators' weapons out.

The bonus feature on the three-disc set is “The Aftermath,” post-fight analyses that were broadcast on the Internet right after the episode was aired. "The Aftermath" usually runs about 10 to 15 minutes long and features a roundtable discussion with host Kieron Elliott. Max Geiger is present for most along with some of the specialists and experts from that night's episode. Questions are chosen from viewers who posted questions or opinions online and are discussed in the group. There are segments within "The Aftermath" that include the producers’ season wrap-up discussion as well as a wrap-up that includes Dr. Armand and Max. This is a good DVD set with a great bonus and is a series that can be watched, discussed, and debated over and over to further explore history's Deadliest Warrior.

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