22 April 2009 | kstulik
Deadliest Warrior turns out to be decent schlock entertainment, but like many good contemporary shows, turns out to be fairly informative. The notion that you could actually determine who is the deadliest warrior in history is silly, not because they compare warriors from completely different times who could've never met anyway, but rather because the match-ups are all out of context -- Gladiator vs. Apache? C'mon.
The show features a few regulars and then some guest warriors who specialize not only in knowledge of the particular warriors but who also are masters of the particular fighting styles and weapons of their particular historical warrior as well. The two different modern warrior groups usually trash-talk each other in goofy machismo fashion; I think they're being serious but it's good for a laugh.
Each show demonstrates the period weapons and their capability against fairly realistic human analogs. For instance, they smash in the head of a dummy with a tomahawk, and the dummy is a simulated skull with simulated brain matter surrounded by ballistics gel. When the skull flies apart, so does the brain matter; it's pretty graphic even though it's just a dummy. There are a few extremely impressive demonstrations of skill by the guest warriors, so that's cool to see.
The "computer program" they run at the end to determine who would win the most times out of 1000 appears to be some cheesy spreadsheet. I'm sure there's more to it, but they offer zero in terms of methodology, adding to the goofiness. The final battle simulation at the very end is pretty cool though, and it nicely ties in all of the weapons that were tested in the lab.
In all, I gave this show a 7 because despite several cornball facets to it, it really is entertaining to watch, occasionally funny, pretty interesting and -- the best part -- informative. I watch it with my two middle-school sons and they love it, and the show always evokes some good discussions of martial history between us. Oh, and although I can find no indication of who the narrator is, it sounds exactly like David Wenham from 300.