Monday, July 22, 2013

Notes on a Classic: Black Wrestling Network's Full Frontal Assault

The letters on the screen read
A rogue undercover cop arrests the gangbanger that was responsible for the death of his partner after getting him on a technical parole violation. 
But instead of taking him to the station, he takes him to an abandoned warehouse where he will make him wrestle with his own bare hands to prove he can't fight when he has only his own body to rely upon ... if he loses, his parole will be violated and he will be returned to prison to serve the rest of his 15 year sentence ...
Most wrestling videos I watch do not have storylines. Wrestling stories almost never interest me, unless I'm involved in making them up. I prefer that wrestlers get to business and let me fill in the drama as I see fit. The setup to Full Frontal Assault, released in 2005, sounds like a fantasy my online buddy and I would flesh out--brutal hand-to-hand combat, with enormously high stakes, the combatants locked into each other, psychologically, physically, professionally. Fortunately, the 89-word prologue gets the ball rolling, narratively, and the rest is fighting.

From the letters on the screen we're taken to a photo of a strikingly handsome black man atop a dossier. Cropped hair, blunt forehead, discrete and tasteful face jewelry, the devil in his eyes. We and the photograph stare at each other for a long time. Now cut to a naked man standing on a black mat in a nearly empty warehouse. A subtitle labels him "the convict." The camera pans in for a closeup. He looks down his nose at us. Next, subtitled "the cop," another naked man, lighter skinned than the convict, more thickly set, muscular. So good news:  Black Wrestling Network does not pussyfoot around. No teasing. No dancing around what you're here for.  Full Frontal Assault cuts through the exposition fast, to focus on the combat action. You want big cock on a wrestling mat. That's where this movie starts.

The two men circle each other, without saying a word. These guys are hot. Did I make that clear? Maybe I didn't. They lock up, and the cop throws the convict. The two tumble around on the mat, slamming each other violently, recklessly. They mean business. The advantage switches every three seconds. They are very evenly matched. Some of the fight we get in slow motion, so their groans sound like roars, and the flex of muscle looks like lava brimming. Their bodies are lit like figures in a George Bellows painting.

My reference to art is no exaggeration. Underlining everything I've seen so far from BWN is a strong appreciation for filmmaking--lighting, editing, camerawork, mise-en-scene, all of it fairly low budget, yet painstakingly cinematic. In this respect, this title is typical of what I've seen so far in the company's other titles. Another characteristic I've seen in BWN is its heavy touch, emotionally and physically. Powerful feelings, not choreography, not repartee, are what push the action forward. BWN slathers on attitude thick and heavy. The stakes are always high. The emotions run deep and passionate. No comic relief, to speak of. The fights are for keeps. The blows are noticeably stiffer than we find elsewhere. The frat-boy wisecracking and jovial horseplay we get from other wrestling video providers are virtually absent here. Full Frontal Assault gives us grunts, yelps, growls, and heavy breathing. Served up piping hot.

Convict is as cocky and vain as we could hope for. Exquisitely proportioned, his body boasts a number of strong features--I single the ass and thighs out for a lot of attention, myself. Magnum, who plays his nemesis, the cop, is no less finely hewn, though heavier, more mature looking. His attitude is more professional, not exactly by-the-book (vengeful nude wrestling not often emphasized in police academy training, to my knowledge), driven by a hard ideal of justice ("You reap what you sow") and smoldering rage over his slain partner.

We get an hour of wrestling action, intense, angry, sensual, and loud, perpetually semi-hard. The moving camera is always where it should be--long shots for the throws and takedowns, tight closeups for details like a bare foot pressing an opponent's ankle to the mat, a sweaty stomach heaving in and out, eyes rolling up in the head. This eight-year-old release is classic because it establishes the house style of BWN, skimping on neither the aggression nor the homoeroticism of a no-rules, high-stakes fight to the finish. And, for my money, it's hard to beat a bearhug-backbreaker finisher.

(And speaking of money, typically BWN videos run about $20 more than Can-Am and BG East DVDs. But in celebration of its anniversary month, 13 years, BWN has chopped $20 off every video in its catalog for the month of July, plus every third video for free! I took the generous sale for a sign and snapped up several titles I've had my eyes on for a while, including this one.) 

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