14 January 2017 | Rodrigo_Amaro
Dar Robinson's outstanding legacy and his amazing stunt works
A breathtaking documentary on world-famous stuntman Dar Robinson elevated my thoughts on their work on the screen. The category fights for several years to include an Oscar category as Best Stunt Work but the Academy always rejects such proposition. I've always been oposed to such idea since it's not a work audiences truly see what's going on in the exact action sequence, it's a hidden work that lately includes computers changing their faces to the actor acting on the scene and there's always actors who actually perform their own stunts - not to mention the Screen Actors Guild already has a category for them that recognise the whole stunt team as part of their greatest works. Hal Needham managed to get a special Oscar and a few stuntmen who managed to secure an acting job managed to get Oscar nominations for performance. But after this detailed piece, I'm more inclined to defend their stand in getting their special Oscar category. I mean, who many of us can actually understand why a certain film won an Oscar for their sound editing? We can hear everything that's impressive about creating a special sound design but we don't exactly the mechanisms behind it unless we see bonus material from home video releases.
This TV special presents the trajectory and the career of Dar Robinson (1947-1986), one of the great stunt guys of all-time. Host Chuck Norris tells us about the greatness of this man who was part of movie history with more and more risky and well-elaborated stunts, some of them are presented here from the exact conception, behind the scenes clips, all of them to make your heart beat faster or stop due to the incredible way Robinson achieved some of the craziest and most unbelievable feats. Among them are: a stunt he performed in this huge tower in Canada falling down with a cable; the one from "Iceman" (1984) jumping from a helicopter to a snowy mountain; and the most impressive one, jumping from a speeding car going to a cliff - that's the one that opens the film and later on is presented with details and he just did to show to a TV crew, no film work involved. He was all about taking higher risks, to excel himself and to make everything look completely safe. A larger than life character, very amusing and always wanting to set more and more records.
A brief resume of his work includes films such as: "Papillon" (Steve McQueen's great escape from the island), "Nighthawks", "Highpoint" (the villain falling from the huge tower),"To Live and Die in L.A." (William Petersen base-jumping but Friedkin wasn't fast enough with the editing cause Dar's face can be seen in the shot), Turk 182!" and "Lethal Weapon" - one of his last works, completed after his death in 1986 on the set of "Million Dollar Mystery" in a motorcycle stunt that went wrong. Richard Donner was so impressed with his effort that "Lethal Weapon" final credits paid a tribute to him, a rare instance in films that later became a trademark when a contributor of a film had passed away before the it's release.
I was amazed not only with his stunts but above all his humor, energy and professionalism on the set, gaining the admiration of everyone he worked for (Burt Reynolds was so impressed that he gave Robinson an acting role as a villain to a film he directed). And the stunts...one surpassed the other in quality, risk, danger and audacity, it's beyond belief. Sometimes it was hard to look at them because they were also incredible and we follow him from the inception of some of those moments that we actually feel afraid of something going awfully wrong. But no, he succeed in all of those presented here. The magic of movies involve a certain sense of gigantic reality and that is thankful to brave man like him.
Someone of his magnitude received a well-paid tribute with this project, one that must be seen by movie buffs out there. 10/10