The Resurrection of Jake The Snake Roberts. 2015
Directed by Steve Yu
Starring Jake Roberts, Dallas Page, and Scott Hall
A fallen professional wrestling superstar battles his past demons in a struggle to reclaim his life and the family that has given up on him.
Wrestling for WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) seemingly would open the door to a luxurious lifestyle, and in many ways it does, but that doesn’t mean luxury and fame equate to a lifetime of happiness. Case in point, early on in the documentary, Diamond Dallas Page heads over to the house of Jake The Snake Roberts, which by all the rules of celebrity knowledge should tell us that he’s holed up in a high-class suite off in an upper-class city. That is furthest from reality however with Jake, as one of the most revered superstars professional wrestling has ever seen, is living in a dump off in the middle of nowhere someplace you and I could even probably afford.
Why? Outside of the squared circle, Jake has a habit of substance and drug abuse, family abandonment, and more demons haunting his conscious. All of this makes The Resurrection of Jake The Snake Roberts a one-two knockout punch of depressing and uplifting by the time the credits roll, especially so for wrestling fans who will undoubtedly cry their eyes out at various junctures. With that said however, this documentary doesn’t solely feel pertinent to insiders of the professional wrestling industry, but something that could viably be used to help the men and women suffering through the same problems.
While Jake is sought after for help by longtime industry friend Diamond Dallas Page in return for being an incredible mentor throughout the earlier years of his career, the overarching theme of the documentary clearly seems to be that those impacted should surround themselves with similar and like-minded positive people eager to help. It can be hard to admit to your problems and open yourself to solace and help in the form of others (it’s almost demoralizing), but it’s something that must be done considering that sometimes just you aren’t enough to help push aside your vices. There is actually nothing wrong with wanting support, and this documentary exemplifies that superbly.
It’s also purely a heartbreaking look at what alcoholism can do to a person mentally; constantly telling themselves they were not a good enough human being to deserve the love of friends and family around them, giving the illusion that they’re stuck in pitch-black darkness with the only escape being finally kicking the bucket, while also offering an insight to the physical toll living this destructive lifestyle yields.
For the non-wrestling fans reading this review, essentially, Dallas Page offered Jake Roberts to live with him under the impression that with his yoga exercises and heartfelt companionship, he could better Jake’s life. It’s a rocky road obviously, as it’s nigh impossible for a substance abuser to just up and quit. If it worked that easily there would be no such thing as addiction. So as both a viewer and fan of professional wrestling for over 20 years, it is absolutely soul-crushing watching Jake on the path to recovery, signing autographs, going clean for an extended period of time, only for something to happen causing him to relapse bringing him back to square one. Jake Roberts is a man the world is lucky to still have alive.
The forward progress made with Jake however also gave them the idea to invite Scott Hall into the home, who was living an equally disastrous life, numb from painkillers and alcohol while putting off surgery to the point where he could no longer walk. Similar to Jake, contact with his friends and family had dwindled leaving nothing but a broken shell of a man. And so going back to the point the documentary makes about surrounding yourself with good influences, one of the only reasons Hall accepted was that he would be around good friends and that one of those wrestling buddies was making progress, despite the occasional relapse here and there.
Hats off also go to director Steve Yu for wisely selecting what footage to use and what not to use, and also making the decision to not overburden the documentary with interviews from fellow wrestlers outside of the beginning and ending, which is where they do fit. It allows audiences to just get sucked into a very personal story of a friend and mentor doing everything he can to get the lives of his buddies back on track. I don’t know if The Resurrection of Jake The Snake Roberts will get the awards recognition it deserves, but it is the best documentary of 2015.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Robert Kojder – An aficionado of film, wrestling, and gaming. Follow me on Twitter or friend me on Facebook