This page contains affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, we may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Learn more
The foremost exponent of UK MMA had passed by these eyes only once prior to my kicking back with this bite size, abstinently priced release. The reason? Said prior event was compared by MTV exacerbation & MMA non-entity Richard Blackwood, an appointment akin to a syndicate of British Wrestling promoters securing a prime-time slot with ITV1, and handing anchorship reigns to Ant & F***ing Dec. Yes, it was that offputting.
“Cage Rage Knockouts” is hosted by the group’s two promoters, Andy Geer & Dave O’Donnell, who instantly lend infinitely more credibility than the aforementioned, in presence alone. Geer is absolutely fine; O’Donnell, in Don West uber-excite overdrive, is annoying.
The feature ensures that, given the moniker adorning the cover, the head honchos at FightDVD can sleep secure in the knowledge that Trading Standards won’t be knocking their door giving it the old “’ello”. “Knockouts” it is called, and so it doth deliver. Alas, the production raises one or two irks: the highlight-intro subtitles take several seconds to become discernable, which means that by the time you’ve ascertained who is being showcased (plus, in some cases featuring the lesser-knowns, it takes the duration of the clip to work out which one is which), you’ve missed a decent chunk of the action. Similarly, the editing is a touch shoddy: bursts of footage are interspersed with a ‘CR’ graphic/soundbite which, particularly when following a Geer/O’Donnell interlude, often appears twice in succession.
The pick of the cuts on display, from an impactful standpoint, sees Mark “The Beast” Epstein clubbering Dave Legeno at Cage Rage 17. A worthy inclusion, that you generally aren’t afforded by UFC or PRIDE, is the myriad of post-fight close-up shots of the KO victims, which serve as a consequential companion piece to the fracas they succeed; indeed, the image of a woozy, displaced Alex Reid, post-Jorge Rivera bludgeoning, is every bit the striking image as the gargantuan overhand right from “El Conquistador” that pre-empted it.
As the feature unfolds, virtual chapters are dedicated to focus subjects, with Mark Weir (including a spectacular KO of PRIDE incumbent Akira Shoji), & current UFC Middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva getting the spotlight treatment. The best of the bunch, however, is the precinct dedicated to Dutch mastodon Melvin Manhoef, and here within lies the jewel in the “Knockouts” crown- the final minutes of Manhoef’s epic slugfest victory over Chute Boxe fighter, the equally frightening Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos, from Cage Rage 15: Adrenalin Rush. A more gallant & intrepid finale you couldn’t hope to witness, and while the technique level on display may not be instructional-video level stuff, it’ll fair bring a lump to your throat to see the prostrated & ultimately defeated “Cyborg” continuing to wail blows to Manhoef’s midsection with what little strength he could muster, oblivious to the fact that the fight had been stopped.
An unrelentingly paced accumulation, it’s difficult to criticise “Knockouts” on the grounds that it explicitly offers exactly what it tells you you’re getting at the onset, even though, after an hour & a half of straight highlight-reel finishes, it’s not a bad idea to have some U-Style handy, in order to restore a level of Yin/Yang parity. That said, it hardly constitutes a capacious landscape of the entity that is Mixed Martial Arts, and as such could best be approved as worthwhile post-pub viewing. For the sake of a bit of variation, I’d be inclined to pay a few quid extra to pick up Cage Rage 15 instead, and get the Manhoef-Santos war of attrition in it’s entirety into the bargain.
Points: 5 / 10