“Vegan Badass” proclaims a T-shirt of one of a talk subjects in Louie Psihoyos’s flashy, pumped-up documentary “The Game Changers,” and maybe that would have been a improved pretension for it. 88 mins of quick stats, pointy scholarship and luminary testimony all directed to debunk a “real group eat meat” mentality, it’s a pointy attainment of PR for a lifestyle choice that already has movement on a side, as studies indicate to a new tellurian arise in plant-based eating. “The Game Changers” isn’t here to evangelise to a wellness-culture choir, however. Headed by former UFC champion James Wilks, it sets out to remonstrate a many stereotypically red-blooded carnivores that veganism is not usually healthy and environmentally friendly, yet actively macho, with a primarily masculine garb of athletes and hardmen lined adult to claim that it’s not usually easy being green, yet tough too.
It’s an unsubtle thesis, and a film pushes it in ruthlessly on-message fashion: Valuable points are finished throughout, yet by a time one of many talking-head doctors methodically demonstrates a advantages of a plant-based diet to a man’s erectile performance, some viewers competence find themselves wishing “The Game Changers” would stop flexing and enlarge a viewpoint a bit. Directed by Psihoyos with advertorial potency yet reduction artfulness than his Oscar-winning environmental defence “The Cove,” this Sundance premiere presents few hurdles to distributors with a on-trend subject and big-name endorsements: Arnold Schwarzenegger pops adult on shade as a dietary evangelist, while it will substantially sojourn a usually film in story to underline executive writer credits for James Cameron and Pamela Anderson. Following some melodramatic play, this would play quite good as a special on an ESPN-style network.
If it’s Wilks’ consistent narration, riddled with bullish investigative-journo phrasing (“I wanted to find out…”, “That led me to…”), that lends a televisual feel to a enterprise, he’s zero if not eager company, conflict accurately a chipper, regular-guy tinge a film as a whole means to strike. A late MMA warrior incited chosen troops trainer, he turns to veganism after a career-stalling knee injury; investigate into a apparently vegetarian-dominated diets of Roman gladiators leads him to trust slicing all animal-based food from his diet will dive his body’s recovery. When Wilks’ father Gary suffers a heart attack, his son persuades him to modify too.
Working from these personal causes, Wilks launches into a incomparable investigate of associate sportspeople and earthy high-fliers who have switched to veganism and reaped a benefits: Schwarzenegger, record-holding strongman Patrik Baboumian, cyclist and Olympic medalist Dotsie Bausch and imperishable Australian conservationist Damien Mander are among those display adult to make what was once discharged as a wispy hippie breakthrough demeanour really strong indeed. Their gung-ho testimonies are buttressed by a cackle of doctors and scientists refuting a parable of veganism as a low-protein diet and laying out a plural advantages to a physique — from lowered blood vigour and cancer risks to some-more specific sporting advantages doubtful to regard viewers who don’t devise to lift 700 pounds of iron any time soon.
Supported by swift, nifty graphics, a scholarship partial is splendid and well-presented, if a bit repetitive; there’s small tragedy even between varying schools of plant-based eating in a film’s dissertation. More contention of a analogous advantages of vegetarianism contra veganism, for example, competence be of seductiveness to a novices Wilks and Psihoyos are seeking to engage; it’s left to Bausch, meanwhile, to make a essential indicate that changing one’s diet for a greener needn’t be an all-or-nothing proposition. A late pause on a inauspicious environmental effects of stock tillage won’t be revelatory even to many steak-eaters in a audience, yet if “The Game Changers” is out to flog a many stubbornly vegetable-opposed, it has all a bases covered.
Ultimately, this is documentary advocacy of a fighting-fire-with-fire variety. Wilks calls out insatiable companies like McDonald’s for perpetuating a parable in their possess selling that beef creates we some-more of a man, while claiming that really line of evidence for itself: Once we get to a analogous monitoring of mixed sportsmen’s nightly erections before and after dropping beef from a menu, it’s a consternation “The Game Changers” doesn’t come right out and say, “Veganism creates we hard, in some-more ways than one.” That’s implicit, and if a few some-more guys start eating their greens as a result, this blunt yet belief-fueled film will have finished a job.