- « The Royal Collection (including The King’s Speech). On DVD April 19th. (*******7/10)
- The Resident. On DVD April 26th. (***3/10) »
Genre: Documentary, Sports
Country: United States
Starring: Georges St-Pierre, David Loiseau
Appearances: Rich Franklin, Joe Ferraro, John McCarthy, Keith Jardine, Matt Serra, Steven J. Wong
Director: Steven J. Wong
Run time: 95 minutes
DVD distributor: Alliance Films
Ostensibly, The Striking Truth is a documentary about two MMA fighters. It follows Georges St-Pierre over a period of several years as he rose to the top of the Ultimate Fighting world. It also follows David Loiseau over that same stretch, as he topples from the top and ends up being dropped from the UFC roster. I say ostensibly, because really this is a documentary about St-Pierre.
Loiseau actually has a much more interesting story. In interviews with MMA folk, like Big John McCarthy and Showdown Joe Ferraro, the film makes the case that in terms of talent and skill, Loiseau was one of the best ever. But self-doubt and panic attacks derail his career while the camera follows. The suggestion is made that perhaps he doesn’t “have what it takes” – the mental toughness and so on – to really be a great fighter. The problem is, Loiseau’s problems seem to be shown here just to point out that Georges St-Pierre DOES have what it takes – the character, the toughness, the guts, whatever.
In fact, The Striking Truth spends more time showing us Georges St-Pierre’s house (it has a fancy stove, you see…and he has a chef…) than it does showing us Loiseau’s decline and eventual banishment from the UFC. And while 90% of the film is about St-Pierre, I didn’t feel like I learned anything about him I didn’t already know. What really makes him tick? Don’t know. How did his loss to Matt Serra actually affect him? Can’t tell.
And that’s the problem with The Striking Truth. Not that it ignores Loiseau (although he could be taken out entirely, and a separate documentary could be made about him that would be fascinating), but that it’s a big long GSP love-in. The director, Steven J. Wong, is obviously a long-time friend of the fighter, and he shows up every now and then to sing his praises, or to take him on at ping-pong.
And so we get a portrait of a professional fighter who seems very friendly, and genuine, and extremely likeable. And that’s about it. In no way is this a hard-hitting documentary (although it most certainly could have gone that way had they wanted to make something good). Really it’s not much more than a long episode of MTV Cribs where GSP shows us his childhood heirlooms and his fancy stove. I’m no fan of MMA, but I like GSP. I won’t be watching him in his title fight on Saturday in Toronto because I don’t care for the sport, but I hope he wins because I like him. I just don’t know him any better after watching this documentary, out April 26th from Alliance Films.