An Extraordinary Gentleman, Review

Added by Senor LARIATO

From filmmaker Adam Gill, Figure Four Films and Paragon Pictures present ‘An Extraordinary Gentleman’, a new documentary charting the career of British wrestling star Jack Gallagher. After competing in 2016’s WWE Cruiserweight Classic, Gallagher signed with the world’s largest professional wrestling promotion and appeared on viewer’s screens as a full-time WWE wrestler in November of that year. For many fans Gallagher’s arrival on wrestling’s grandest stage may have been their first exposure to his quintessentially British style of professional wrestling, and this film seeks to tell the story of how Gallagher learned his craft and came to be ‘An Extraordinary Gentleman’.

Featuring candid interviews with Jack and some of those involved in professional wrestling who know him best, most notably Zack Gibson who has been a friend and rival throughout Gallagher’s career, ‘An Extraordinary Gentleman’ takes the viewer from Gallagher’s humble beginnings as a teenager starting out in the business in 2006 to his exit from the British independent scene, in front of a sold out crowd of 2,500 fans at Brixton Academy last year. With a healthy dose of recent match footage from PROGRESS and FutureShock wrestling (and older footage from some lesser known or now defunct promotions), the film covers each year of Gallagher’s career and his growth as a professional wrestler, as a character, a performer and a person.

One of the highlights is in seeing how Jack’s character progressed, how his original persona of punk rocker Jack Toxic became too restrictive for him, and how his ‘Grappler’ and ‘Extraordinary’ characters allowed him to express more of his own tastes. His sense of humour, his sartorial elegance and his adoration for the British wrestling of yesteryear. There’s also a good deal of focus on the history of wrestling in Britain, the catch-as-can style and how it differs from amateur wrestling. This provides some context ahead of Jack’s stay at the famous Snake Pit gym in Wigan (the home of British catch-as-catch-can) where he trained under the tutelage of Roy Wood, the last student of the legendary Billy Riley.

Jack’s style would come to draw heavily from his lessons at the Snake Pit as he moved away from the Jack Toxic character to become Jack Gallagher, ‘The Grappler’, and later ‘The Extraordinary’ Jack Gallagher. By incorporating a flair for showmanship and more than a few nods to stars of World of Sport wrestling such as Steve Grey, Vic Faulkner and Johnny Saint, he had a character and a style steeped in British wrestling tradition, but one that successfully separated him from the norm of the day and led to opportunities with some of the most prominent independent promotions in the country and, ultimately, a contract with the WWE.

Overall ‘An Extraordinary Gentleman’ is a very focussed film, it runs a little over 45 minutes and it eschews the talking heads trend of having a plethora of notable names singing the subject’s praises, opting instead for more pertinent and personal interviews with those who know him the best in professional wrestling. The film does a great job of presenting Jack’s story and his reasoning for the bold decisions he’s made in his career that have led him to such success, it’s a well produced piece and offers a good insight into one of the greatest exponents of British wrestling today.

‘An Extraordinary Gentleman’ is available to rent or purchase on-demand over at: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/anextraordinarygentleman and comes with two hours of bonus footage.