Review: Ashes of Chikara
Cast: Fire Ant, Green Ant, Icarus, Mike Quackenbush, et al
Season 13 of Chikara was probably the toughest season the roster had ever faced. It all came to a head at Anniversario: Never Compromise when the company was shut down by Condor security and it was left for dead. Many fans were left wondering what was next, was Chikara truly dead or would it rise from the ashes like Phoenix itself. Many questions were left unanswered and if one turns to The Ashes of Chikara for them then there will be disappointment. Not in the movie itself, it is more of the final chapter in what was season 13, but in the fact that it might raise more questions in the end. If one were to analyze Ashes from a broader perspective, it might just be the most indie of all independent cultural phenomena today.
The movie begins after the attack on Chikara by Condor and then centers on Icarus, a heel, looking for answers and help in a world gone crazy. Icarus is driven by the need to bring Chikara back and save the remaining offshoot companies from the threat of destruction. He is the one who seemingly has lost most because of the closing of Chikara; his family.
Parallell to this the tag team of 3.0, Shane Matthews and Scott Parker, are also looking for answers by finding Archibald Peck, who mysteriously vanished a while back. They find out that he is Parts Unknown where he apparently has tried to put the pieces of the puzzle back together.
There are two camps amongst the roster of Chikara, those who have given up or at least made peace with the idea of the demise of the company; Eddie Kingston, Chuck Taylor and Tim Donst, and those who are willing to fight; Icarus, 3.0, Fire Ant and Green Ant. The final showdown is to be National Pro Wrestling Day.
The roster of Chikara are no great actors, there is quite a bit of over acting and the masks make it difficult to emote at times. This is of course not the point of this movie, no one is expecting an Oscar worthy performance from Shane Matthews or AssailANT it is part of the charm.
What is more impressive is the narrative and camera work, one can speculate that this has been the main focus when the movie was produced. What some of the actors might lack in emotional response the camera and score makes up for. For those who have followed the Ashes videos on Youtube most of the story is the same, yet the new footage gives the story an extra dimension and added depth. In addition, one does not have to be a Chikara expert to enjoy the story as is.
As previously mentioned; The Ashes of Chikara might be the epitome of independent culture. It is not only an independent movie about an independent wrestling company. It’s a movie about independent lifestyles, about people making their way in the world against the odds. It’s about David taking on Goliath not only in the corporate world, but on an individual level. Icarus becomes the embodiment of an idea, the idea that is Chikara, the courage to be different in a world of conformity, the bravery to wear jeans in a forest of suits. The Ashes of Chikara has so much more to say than one might initially think.
For the hardcore wrestling fan or the hardcore Chikara fan there is also several hidden gems that makes one smile inside. The movie is also a tribute to the movies of the eighties, from the Stan Bush songs playing in the background to the Rocky-esque montage before the final showdown.
To find out more about Chikara go to chikarapro.com and if you want to see The Ashes of Chikara it is available for download here: http://theashesof.com/