New Jack: Hardcore (2006)
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New Jack, for the uninitiated, is a wrestler well-known for his "extreme" style of wrestling and is best known for the six years he spent working for the now-defunct ECW. The man has had a pretty storied career; he was constantly giving the fans something to talk about with his insane in-ring antics (diving off a thirty-foot balcony, stapling dollar bills to an opponents forehead, amongst other things), but he's also caused a lot of controversy as well. For example, during a match with the 72-year-old wrestler known as Gypsy Joe, New Jack got pissed off at the man and started "shooting" on him... in other words, those punches and shots to the head with a baseball bat weren't "faked". Then there was the time that another wrestler tried to "shoot" on New Jack during a match, and received several legit stab-wounds for his troubles, and then there was the whole Mass Transit issue that nearly put New Jack behind bars. In this eighty-minute documentary, New Jack details his lengthy career, these incidents and much, much more.
Review by Chad
Added: April 08, 2006
Personally, I'm a fan of New Jack. The man is extremely entertaining in the ring, and he never failed to impress yours truly with the stunts that he pulled during his glory days. Jerome Young, the man behind the character, tells all about his career and his observations in this documentary, and he certainly doesn't pull any punches when it comes to calling out others by name. The documentary starts off at the very beginning of his career, back when he worked for Smoky Mountain Wrestling with another fellow by the name of Mustafa as a tag-team known as "The Gangstas". During his time there, he was told by promoter Jim Cornette to "make the white people mad", as they were working in the deep south and, as you may have heard, Southerners aren't too fond of the colored people. The plan worked, and New Jack nearly caused riots with the fans and also got a lot of heat with the NAACP thanks to his in-ring and promo antics. Over the course of the next eleven years, the controversy behind the man never slowed down, and this disc covers nearly all of it.
The disc features little actual wrestling footage, since most of the footage covering New Jack's career is owned by Vince McMahon of the WWE. Instead, the story is told through straight-up interview footage with New Jack himself. Now, when you see the man on television, you get the impression that he is a vicious hoodlum, and you certainly wouldn't expect him to tell a good story or be very easy to listen to. However, New Jack (the character) and Jerome Young (the man) are like night and day; when he discusses the topics found on this disc, he's genuinely insightful, he's funny, he's informative, and above all else, he's entertaining.
There's no shortage of topics to be found, either. New Jack gives his thoughts on the "heat" (real-life rivalry) between himself and the tag-team formerly known as The Dudley Boys, his dislike for Tazz, "ring-rats" (in the music world, they would be known as groupies), backyard wrestling, drugs, Missy Hyatt, backstage fights between the wrestlers, ECW (and the competition between them and WWE / WCW / XPW), getting into physical altercations with the fans, and much, much more. He also discusses the Gypsy Joe incident (which is shown in its entirety), the Mass Transit incident, and we also get to see the stabbing incident between New Jack and another fellow whose name I couldn't find. Sadly, that last topic isn't discussed at all, but we do see it in its entirety.
When I reviewed director Michael Moody's previous film 101 Reasons Not To Be A Pro Wrestler, I said: "By far, the highlight of the interview segments is New Jack." The reason for that is simple; he can tell a good story, he's insightful, and he's hilarious to boot. My thoughts on the man haven't changed after spending nearly two hours watching him discuss various topics, and fans of New Jack (or ECW in general) should definitely have this one on their shelf. The DVD is currently for sale at Hollymood's site (where you can also view a trailer for the film), and fans of the subject will find that it's well-worth the purchase price. 9/10.
- added 04/10/2006, 01:45 AM
Wrestling was entertaining when I was younger,
but that was back in the days of Brutus the Barber
Beefcake, Bad News Brown, and Irving R. Schyster.
These days, wrestling just makes me laugh because
of how terrible it is. All of the fun and mystery
of the non-sport has been replaced by extreme
fighting-esque tactics and moronic subplots.
- added 04/11/2006, 02:30 PM
This documentary is sold exclusively through the
Hollymood site, so I'm going to assume that you
didn't purchase it and therefore haven't seen it
based on your opinions about the "sport"...
however, I apologize if I'm mistaken. While I
respect your opinions regarding professional
wrestling as a whole (and agree with them to an
extent - I personally haven't watched anything
other than documentaries about it in ages), I must
say that rating this feature 1/10 based solely on
that dislike for the "sport" is a bit silly. I'm
not a big fan of, say, chess, but that doesn't
mean that I couldn't enjoy Searching For Bobby
Fischer. I haven't seen that movie, so I'll
withhold any comments about it... but I'm sure you
get the point. Check out "Beyond the Mat" for an
insightful wrestling documentary that damned near
anyone would enjoy (hell, even Roger Ebert gave it
4/5). Although this particular movie is focused
on one man's career, it falls into the same type
of category as BTM.
- added 04/11/2006, 04:13 PM
I actually saw "Beyond the Mat" when it was
released and enjoyed it quite a bit. I also
enjoyed the recently released documentary on the
Ultimate Warrior. I gave this particular film a
1/10 because of the person it deals with. I
enjoyed the other documentaries because they dealt
with wrestling stars I gew up with. Newer
wrestlers have lost the entire notion of the
non-sport. They are not the same as the older
wrestlers. You are correct -- I have never seen
this particular film -- but my rating will
hopefully make some people find entertainment
elsewhere. Yes, basically, I am a bastard.
- added 04/11/2006, 06:51 PM
You mentioned three names in your initial
comment, and those three got started at various
times. According to Wikipedia, Irwin R. Schyster
debuted in 1991 and stuck around (in that
particular role) until 1994, so I'm going to
assume that you were watching somewhere in that
stretch of time. This particular fellow (New
Jack) got his start in 1993, so he's far from
being lumped in with the "newer wrestlers"
according to the examples you gave. However, even
if that weren't the case, it's not very wise to
generalize as such; you wouldn't say the same
thing about directors, actors, or musicians. It's
the same thing in wrestling... you take the good
with the bad, and as with all things, you tend to
remember the "good" things from the "good ol'
days" much more than the bad. I'll end this
comment with the thought of how bizarre it is to
be discussing wrestling on a movies site.
- added 04/11/2006, 09:12 PM
And you make some very valid points. However, I
never have considered the ECW to be a legitimate
wrestling organization. It was always the WWF for
me, which is why I have never really been that
keen on New Jack. He seemed to be an immitator in
a wannabe organization. Alas, you make very good
points. But I, being the bastard, still agree
with my 1/10 rating.
- added 11/11/2006, 07:07 AM
Ironically, said "wannabe organization" was the
source of most of the ideas that were blatantly
stolen by your precious WWF