My buddy Mikey and I went and saw The Iron Claw, the movie based on the life of Kevin Von Erich and his family. I loved the movie!
Factually he movie has many flaws but this isn't a movie about professional wrestling, this is a movie based on the life of the Von Erich family who happen to be wrestlers that is a tremendous difference! Anyone, wrestling fan or not, can go and watch this movie about an overbearing father who pressures his sons to succeed and the love the brothers have for each other.
I can't say I'm a fan of Zac Efron but in this role I thought he was brilliant. Watching him play the role of Kevin, and with all the love he was displaying to his brothers, as a wrestling fan, knowing how the tragedy plays out I was already emotional about it.
Wrestling fans will be critical, because we all know that no one likes to hate more than a rabid fan base. The actors they got to play Harley Race and Ric Flair were not great portrayals at all, we see the Freebirds a bunch, but they don't talk. The Ric Flair promo was great, the delivery of it and the actors portrayal of Flair was terrible.
It was much publicized a lot that current AEW World Champion MJF, who got a producer credit, is portraying Lance Von Erich in the film. Anyone that knows the story knows how badly Lance Von Erich flopped in Dallas. In the final edit of the movie MJF has no lines, we see him in a match teaming with Kevin, however he is not identified so it's nothing more than a cameo.
The timeline in the movie does not match up with the true timeline of events. The movie picks up in 1979 with Kevin in a singles match, and they talk about David debuting as his mystery partner. Kevin debut in 1976 and David in 1977 so that's off a bit.
Kevin was married to Pam on August 1, 1980 and in the movie David is going to Japan the following week where he dies. David died February 10, 1984.
In the film the US Boycotts the Summer Olympics preventing Kerry from competing, as a result he begins wrestling for his father's promotion. In reality Kerry debuted in wrestling in 1978 but officially didn't accept money for the matches to maintain his amateur status. When the US Boycotted the 1980 Summer Games he went into wrestling full time.
Kerry wins the NWA Worlds Championship at the David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions on May 6, 1984. In the movie he goes for a motorcycle ride that night and gets in the crash losing his foot. The crash actually took place June 4, 1986. Kerry would hold the NWA Championship for 3 weeks before dropping it to back to Flair in Japan.
In the movie after Kerry's accident Mike is recruited into the family business because we need a Von Erich. Shortly after his debut it showed Mike injuring his shoulder in a near vacant Dallas Sportatorium and taking his own like shortly after.
Mike actually debuted in November 1983, was married in April 1985. In August 1985 he injured his shoulder in Israel and suffered toxic shock syndrome after surgery in Texas to repair the shoulder. Mike was very messed up but he did return to wrestling in July 1986, he also got in a car crash in 1986 suffering another head injury. In January 1987 he toured New Japan Pro Wrestling coming out on the winning end in 6 of 10 matches, locking up with Antonio Inoki in a 6 man tag. He would take his life on April 12, 1987.
In the movie Fritz gives World Class to Kevin who sells it to Jerry Jarrett. Fritz is who sold to World Class to Jarrett in 1989. Kevin tried to resurrect World Class in 1990 but was not able to succeed with Kerry signing with the then WWF.
In the movie Kevin locks the Iron Claw on Ric Flair and doesn't brake this hold, this is shown to happen after Mike's death, this actually happened at the 2nd Annual David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions May 5, 1985.
In the movie it shows Kevin has stopped wrestling and Kerry is the WWF, it was shortly after being released by the WWF that Kerry commits suicide. Kerry was released in July1992 and ended his life on February 18, 1993.
|Chris with Kerry Von Erich
Chris Von Erich is completely missing from the movie. The youngest and the smallest Von Erich brothers a series of health problems kept him from fulfilling his dream of being in the ring like his brothers. In 1990 after the Jerry Jarrett bought out World Class Chris has a handful of matches in the USWA and later Kevin's revived version of World Class. On September 12, 1991 at the age of 21 Chris shot himself in the head.
Director Sean Durkin said he left Chris out of the movie because the script could not withstand one more tragedy.
All in all I loved the movie, I know it wasn't timeline accurate, but they did a good job telling the story they wanted to share. The only part I disagree with is the exclusion of Chris.
I'm sure the only real was to tell the story of the Von Erich family, outside of a documentary, would be multiple movies, miniseries, or television event. I look forward to buying the home video and watching it again.