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Length: 61 mins
Not exactly a new concept in our extended realm, the subject specific DVD treatment, but a first for MMA- UFC posterboy Chuck Liddell was always going to be the logical first choice for a memoir-driven shiny circle. For all the criticisms one can level at modern day WWE, their ability to knock up a mean DVD package is undeniable, and herein lies the yardstick for Zuffa’s initial attempt at cashing in on one man’s popularity, for reasons that will become apparent…
So, just how does “Ultimate Iceman” fare on it’s own merits? Alas, the prognosis is not good. The Biography Channel are surely salivating at the prospect of an impending hand-me-down for the alcoholics, unemployable & angry loners (thanks, Homer) to wrap their early afternoon/late evening ADD-riddled minds around, but I’m afraid that anyone who knows no more than what the initials MMA stand for is going to be looking for much more depth & insight than the documentary portion of this project offers up.
Liddell is an amiable, likeable guy…. yeah, we generally get that impression from interviews & the like. He’s dedicated, has a strong work ethic, yadda, yadda…. well, he managed to attain the status of UFC champion, so that’s pretty much a given. His list of knock-out wins is something of a who’s who- Couture, Randleman, Belfort, Sobral, Ortiz- a grain of knowledge that anyone willing to part with actual cash for this piece is going to be equipped with beforehand. Are we imparted with any new information whatsoever? Well, apparently Liddell has a degree in accountancy- I never knew that. After this, I’m struggling…
The narrative wheels out any & every cliché you’d care to name. The childhood chapter? Check. Glowing appraisals from family, mentors, employers & contemporaries? Check. Schmaltzy sentimentalism at the point in the timeline where the hero attains his lifelong goal? Cheick F***ing Kongo. A brief snippet of unusual San Luis Abispo training ground “The Pit” gets the intrigue levels going, but neither the facility nor Chuck’s training regimen is unveiled in anything that begins to even loosely resemble depth, which is a huge letdown, as this might’ve gone a way to saving the piece. Indeed, the coverage/explanation of Liddell’s journey to the Octagon is staggeringly pathetic: he was a good high school athlete, he approached his current day trainer with a view to getting started in martial arts, decided he wanted to pursue fighting as a career, his mother said “Go for it”, he made his UFC debut…. that’s it! Staggering sapience & detail, I’m sure you’ll agree. The biggest notables of the bio are simply thus: the mild amusement caused by Liddell’s family constantly referring to him as “Charlie”, and the resounding burial of Tito Ortiz by all & sundry (regarding the 2002/3 shenanigans, where the perceived wisdom was that then-Light Heavyweight champion Ortiz was “ducking” Liddell). Oh, and the soundtrack isn’t too shabby, either.
It was up to the extras to save the set, then. Ooops….. there aren’t any. I’m not kidding; no championship win in it’s entirety (nor any single full outing from his lengthy career), no significant pre or post fight press conference footage, no featurette on warm-up rituals or similar, not so much as a poxy video montage of knockouts. No siree, it’s the main feature, and that’s your lot. Unbelievable.
The UFC may well be murdering WWE in the Pay Per View buyrate department, but the braintrust at Zuffa could certainly do with giving Titan’s commercial department a bell for a few pointers. I’d wager that even the staunchest Chuck Liddell uber-fan will watch this once before leaving it to gather dust forevermore. “Ultimate Iceman” is a catastrophic waste of an opportunity. Avoid like an invitation from Mirko Cro Cop to “step outside”.
Points: 1 / 10