LAFF: Stuntman Review

Stuntman Theatrical Poster

As The Rock so eloquently said in his speech prior to the world premiere of Stuntman, stuntmen and women are the backbones of this industry. He’s never been more correct. Stuntmen and women are the ones who provide films with endless amounts of entertainment. Yet you don’t know who they are or what they look like. Stuntman Eddie Braun is one of those people. After many, many years as a stuntman, in 2014 he attempted to make the biggest stunt of his career by finishing the stunt that Evel Knievel couldn’t: The Snake River Canyon jump. That’s the premise of the documentary, Stuntman. Yet is Stuntman as exciting as the stunt itself?

You bet it is. Stuntman’s story emulates that of a superhero film by filling the film with a lot of redemption stories. It’s an amazing film that should be seen on the big screen.

Stuntman follows Hollywood stuntman, Eddie Braun, on his journey to complete the most dangerous stunt ever: Evel Knievel’s Snake River Canyon jump. This jump was never completed by Knievel and was never attempted again by him.

Stuntman - Eddie Braun

Stuntman isn’t unlike any other documentary you’ve seen before. This isn’t a film where you’ll learn about the inner workings stunt community. Instead, you’ll get to see the documentation of a long and arduous journey of a stuntman trying to honor his hero. As a result, the film will give you so many emotions that it’s essentially an emotional roller coaster from beginning to end. The film does an impeccable job in making Eddie Braun into this sympathetic hero. Braun sacrifices so much that you can see his frustrations on screen. His frustrations become your frustrations. Yet at the same time, you have to respect his resolve even though it’s been a pain. He’s put in a lot of money (not by choice) and effort into this stunt.

It just shows you what kind of person Eddie Braun is. This makes the documentary that much more interesting. If Braun was as a jerk, then you wouldn’t care about all of his struggles. At the same time, he’s a person that you can connect with since he’s just an ordinary guy with an extraordinary job. Not to mention, he’s not doing this stunt for fortune and glory. He’s doing it solely to honor his idol, Evel Knievel.

Yet what really gets you is the day of the launch. The documentary ramps up the tension through a long build-up to the actual launch. Director Kurt Mattila does a great job getting inside the head of Eddie Braun during this nervous moment. It’s a dangerous stunt and a lot is on the line. So as we get inside of Braun’s head, his nervousness becomes our nervousness. Also, as each pre-check plays out on-screen, you get a sense at each possible complication that could tragically end Eddie Braun’s life. Thus, you’re aware of the gravity of the situation.

Stuntman - Eddie Braun

The crazy thing is that even if you know the ending to the stunt, you’re still at the edge of your seat. That’s the kind of great editing that you only see in sports documentaries. Even though you know the outcome of the game, each piece of footage is strewn together to create this intense segment.

The film isn’t perfect though. Stuntman goes off on several detours where it doesn’t add any bits of information to the overall narrative. As previously mentioned, you don’t learn a lot about the stunt community either. Instead, you get an intimate look into Eddie Braun’s life. This is essentially a biographical documentary.

Overall, Stuntman is an edge-of-your-seat and moving look at Eddie Braun’s journey to honor Evel Knievel. The film is as awesome as Eddie Braun’s life and journey to finish this stunt. The film isn’t entirely perfect but it’s a film that’ll leave you cheering at the very end.

Rating: 4.5/5 atoms

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