Blu-ray Review: Life After Flash (2017)

April 17, 2019

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Before I begin discussing Life After Flash, I feel it appropriate to share some thoughts on Flash Gordon. If you aren’t interested in such things…or having your’s cruelly uncharacteristically lay his soul bare, just skip down to the next paragraph. Anyway, back in December of 1980, my desire to see Flash Gordon was at an almost unbelievable level…and my parents blew my mind and agreed to drive me, and the prettiest girl in the second grade who agreed to be my date, many towns over (yes, I grew up in the literal middle of nowhere) to see the film…but mother nature had other plans; and a nor’easter (to those not in the know; Upstate New York has about 14 months of winter per year…at least it did back then) kept us in town, and Altman’s Popeye was what it had to be (and for the record, that is a charming film and a ton of fun…but it sure as hell isn’t Flash Gordon).

Flash (pun intended) forward a bit tot he traditional Sunday dinner at my grandparents, and after an amazing fried fish dinner courtesy of my Nana, we all gathered around the TV to catch the HBO premier of Flash Gordon…and after my nervous stomach calmed down, I had a life changing experience…I had found the greatest cinematic joy of my life! Over the years, the film (and it’s amazing soundtrack) would be a lifesaver…an anchor if you will, while I suffered from bouts of anorexia, depression, and anxiety…and I could never, ever thank the people involved in it’s creation enough for making me feel so happy when that emotion was in short supply.

All of that considered, I was beyond excited to discover the new documentary Life After Flash, and I am pleased to announce my excitement wasn’t misplaced! While the documentary is presented as a look into the life of Sam J. Jones and how the legacy of Flash Gordon has affected him, what it contains is so very much more! Before we get to the nitty-gritty we are treated to a complete look into the production of Flash Gordon (filled with amazing anecdotes from the cast and crew, and archival footage I have never seen before), and Jones’ clashes with producer Dino De Laurentiis…an experience he has lived and learned from…because this doesn’t candy coat the fact that Jones lived hard, partied hard, and was arrogant as all get out until he found his path in life, and re-emerged like a bleached blond phoenix from the flames that engulfed his career.

I’m not even sure how I can explain how Jones’ story affected me…no matter what he went through, and how he stumbled…he held on to the value that family is what is most important…and he always made sure his family came before whatever hell he was going through at the time…and if that isn’t the personification of a hero, I don’t know what is! In short, the man continues to inspire me, both as Flash, and as a human being…and his story really resonates with me as I am a father myself (and I hope to tell him just that one day, as the film shows that he is very active on the convention circuit)!

As for special features on this Blu-ray release from Cleopatra/MVD Entertainment you get plenty of material that didn’t make it into the final film including more from the glorious Brian Blessed (detailing the filming of the Hawkman battle sequence), as well as additional riffing from Comedian Rich Fulcher and toy mogul Jason Lenzi, more conversation from Jones himself and Actress Melody Anderson, a small script read segment, the film’s trailer, and a stills gallery…oh and a rap (?!!) from genre legend Deep Roy that is nothing short of surreal…

Simply put; Director Lisa Downs and her crew have discovered what makes a hero great; their humanity…and Jones exemplifies that above and beyond. That alone makes this film a must see…but, for Flash Gordon fans it also presents a dearth of information on the creation of the legendary picture by those that lived it…either way, seek this out as soon as you can!!

 

 

 

*Portions of this review appeared originally on That’s Not Current

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