I tried to find reviews of this documentary but couldn’t find much out there so I decided to plunk down the $30 myself to pick it up.
This movie is essentially broken down into two acts with the first being the origin story of GSP.
There are interviews with his mom and dad (although never together, which made me wonder if they’re divorced or separated), interspersed with pictures of him as a kid and even footage of him doing karate. He describes the bullying he experienced and what a proud kid he was despite constantly getting his ass kicked. This was one of his main motivations for getting into martial arts.
There was a funny and tender moment where GSP was calling out his mom for setting out all the fine china during the interview. He was making fun of his mom for trying to act all ‘fancy’ in front of the camera. Apparently his mom was insulted when a prior documentary said that GSP grew up training in his ‘dusty’ basement, and ever since then, his mom tries to ‘fancy’ things up in front of cameras.
I also learned that he has underlying OCD. He talks about how when he walks on a sidewalk he does everything he can to avoid stepping on cracks, and if he accidentally steps on one, he has to do a whole ritual and start over again.
There are also insightful interviews with John Danaher, Joe Rogan, Freddie Roach, and Firas Zahabi. The interview that impressed me the most was when Danaher recounted the first few times GSP showed up at the gym and didn’t speak a word of English. He just handed over a fistful of cash and started training. It wasn’t until later that Danaher discovered that GSP was traveling all the way from Montreal to train at Renzo’s in NYC. Danaher couldn’t bring himself to accept GSP’s money after that.
This especially made me feel guilty for all those times I found myself whining and complaining about the extra 10 minutes of traffic I had to drive through to get to my BJJ class.
They also cover many of the highlights of GSP previous fights, especially the matches with Matt Hughes and what they meant for his career at the time.
The second act is about his knee injury (ACL tear) and the build up to his fight with Nick Diaz.
They did such a good job portraying Nick Diaz as the bad guy, with all of his shit talking and snarling and posturing, that the BJJ Cavewife, who sat next to me as I watched this, and who I thought couldn’t have cared less about what was happening on screen because she was absorbed with her game of Candy Crush, suddenly started saying how much she hated Nick Diaz and wanted him to get his ass beat! This coming from my dear sweet wife who’s never once shown an interest in MMA and never even heard of GSP until this movie.
This meant that the folks who filmed this documentary did a fantastic job of arranging the narrative. Every hero needs a villain, and Nick Diaz was the perfect villain for this story.
At one point I couldn’t believe that they actually filmed GSP in the post surgical recovery unit immediately after his ACL surgery… and that his first words after coming out of anesthesia was how badly he wanted fuck Nick Diaz up. He was definitely a man obsessed, and really showed how deeply all of Diaz’s shit talking affected him.
Interspersed throughout the movie are CGI clips of wolves, where I think they’re portraying GSP as the white wolf and Diaz as the black wolf. In the beginning of the documentary they also film an actual wolf in the octagon!
The movie culminates in the fight between GSP and Diaz where they show really great slow mo clips of the fight.
Overall I was impressed with the production quality of this until I noticed that it was produced in collaboration with the guys that did Planet Earth and Life, which are both AMAZING nature documentaries.
I guess, since I watched this only a few days after watching Stuart Cooper’s Marcelo Garcia documentary, the difference in quality between a professional production with an actual team and a multimillion dollar budget behind them vs a lone amateur videographer without any real budget at all really stood out.
The narrative is captivating; the music is fitting and dramatic; and the video and production quality are top notch.
I’m definitely happy I picked up the Blu-Ray version of this. If you’re an MMA fan, then I think you’ll get a lot of entertainment value from this. If you’re a GSP fan then this is a must have.
I’ve already watched this a few times through and get just as pumped up every single time.
It makes me want to stop whatever it is I’m doing and start training MMA… and then I come to my senses and remember that I don’t like getting hit in the face and my jiu-jitsu is atrocious… so I do the next best thing and hit ‘play’ all over again.
Here is the trailer:
If you’re interested, you can pick it up here:
- TAKEDOWN – The DNA of GSP – Blu Ray via Amazon
- TAKEDOWN – The DNA of GSP – DVD via Amazon
- TAKEDOWN – The DNA of GSP – Digital Movie via Itunes