Film reviews

You Cannot Kill David Arquette – Documentary Review

“I don’t give a shit about David Arquette.”

20 years ago, Scream‘s David Arquette crash-landed into WCW (World Championship Wrestling) to promote his new wrestling comedy film, Ready to Rumble. All went to plan and then some: he became WCW’s World Heavyweight Champion. Arquette’s venture into professional wrestling and subsequent title win was much to the dismay of wrestlers and fans alike, resulting in what is considered to be a dark chapter within both professional wrestling and the actor’s career.

Fast forward to 2018 and David Arquette is back, sort of. With struggles in both his film career and general health, Arquette decides to pursue redemption of his reputation in wrestling and the public eye. You Cannot Kill David Arquette follows Arquette on this deeply personal and explicit journey.

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The journey itself takes Arquette to the grassroots of wrestling and the grittiness of backyard bumps. After yoga sessions with former wrestler DDP (Diamond Dallas Page), Arquette’s journey takes him south of the border learning the art of Lucha Libre… and street wrestling. Somewhat comedic, Arquette’s training is just missing a Rocky IV style montage from being perfect. His in-ring action is admirable and impressive for both his age and the lack of a wrestling career – directors David Darg and Price James manage to capture this in magnificence, fully exposing Arquette for the wonders and hard work he has put in to make this ambitious and absolutely ludicrous return to wrestling come true.

Despite Arquette being financially sound, and in the company of a loving family, that doesn’t prevent You Cannot Kill David Arquette from presenting the actor-turned-wrestler in an almost rags-to-riches fashion. Of course, “riches” can be a variable term depending on whether one regards a decent run on the indie wrestling circuit as a great success or not, especially when his wrestling debut came on prime time television for the #2 wrestling promotion at the time.

But for Arquette, his pursuit isn’t of fame, it’s for respect. He achieves that. Running parallel to his journey as a wrestler is his journey as a human being. You Cannot Kill David Arquette strives to establish a journey of the tragic to the triumphant. At times, when Arquette is at his lowest, the documentary does transcend into being a difficult watch. The explicit nature of his mental health treatment, aided by up-close and personal interviews with his family growing up and his family now, ensures a real feel to what’s presented to the viewer.

     
     
     
     

As a documentary, there are little to no flaws present – most of which are down to personal taste. For example, there are instances in the family home where both the visuals and tone feel very MTV. Overall, You Cannot Kill David Arquette is much better than that. The only other noticeable issue is an existential flaw, which is slightly ironic also. This (very good) documentary about David Arquette’s life and wrestling career exists, yet nobody cared about him. How can this documentary exist and be made for the wrestling community when he is/was literally despised? Will casual wrestling fans, unaware of his run in the indies, be interested in this product?

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Ultimately, whether you’re a wrestling fan or not, this documentary connects on so many levels; you’ll be cheering for Arquette – in the ring, out the ring, good or bad. Mirroring the grittiness of Beyond the Mat, and the personal factor of Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows, You Cannot Kill David Arquette is simply up there with the best.

You Cannot Kill David Arquette is out on Digital from 23rd November from Blue Finch Films.

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