Director: Vlad Yudin .
Starring. Rich Piana. USA. 1h 38m.
The world of body building has it’s heroes and villains, those huge names that belong to huge men that inspire others to build better bodies, and then there are the bad guys who cheat and disgrace the sport. Rich Piana rose to fame as sitting neatly between the two, he openly admits to using steroids to get to his impressive size, but advocates that there is a safe and heathy way to do this, however this is costly and ultimately he paid the price for this way of life, but Rich wasn’t just about living the physique, he was, or arguably still is a message about striving for the best within.
Yudin has a long history of making Body Builder documentaries, usually centring in good guy classics like Ronnie Coleman, but after the untimely demise of Piana, Yudin cut his segments from the then up and coming Generation Iron and has now spliced it all together as a new tribute to his legacy. Yudin’s techniques are pretty modern and flashing, following traditional methods of interview and showing odd quips of behind the scenes also, the end result is a supposed honest slice of life with a jostling camera which highlights Rich waking up, working out, meeting up with his ex and giving advice to people in the gym and to people behind the cameras as he recalls his life story.
For the most part, it’s pretty uplifting as Rich details his humble beginnings, while sat in his lavish new home, and he’s always been about finding that silver lining in everyone but the hint of a massive ego really begins to shine through, but it’s not a bad thing, you have to believe I yourself if you’re going to promote yourself and it’s this balance which is what made Rich part of his own 5% philosophy.
It’s not a wow and hard hitting as a lot of the other documentaries on the sport but I feel that it’s a great honour that Rich has made it into this archive of the biggest and best characters, despite not playing by the rules he was always honest and certainly well known among friends and critics. It’s just a pity that this comes all too late as this lifestyle, albeit closely monitored and perfected, eventually killed him but to no one’s surprise.
For something that was shot as part another larger project, it’s a competent docufilm but considering it’s the end of the Piana era it would have been interesting and more worthwhile to make this into a true tribute and expand past this last candid clips.
R – Pumping Iron (1977), Ronnie Coleman: The King (2018)
L – Bodybuilding Movies