Bodybuilding brings the human body to its physical extremes - says narrator Mickey Rourke of the subjects in Generation Iron, a semi-sequel to 1977’s Pumping Iron.
It follows seven bodybuilders on their journeys to compete in the 2012 Mr Olympia competition. Of those featured, the focal points are Phil Heath, the 2011 winner, and his rival Kai Greene. The flamboyant, brash Heath, who lives a millionaire lifestyle, and the artistic, philosophical Greene, a Rocky Balboa type underdog, couldn’t be more ideologically opposite. It’s this diversity which makes for a natural, and engaging, conflict.
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno, whose rivalry was at the heart of Pumping Iron, show up to offer encouragement to the competitors and to the viewer, an additional insight into the bodybuilding world.
Generation Iron is a fascinating look at this popular subculture. With the occasional use of humour, it prevails in enlightening the unenlightened; destroying misconceptions that many have with the sport. The subjects are far removed from the cliché perceptions of steroid using simpletons. They are multi-faceted athletes, with a tireless work ethic and insatiable drive for success.