There aren’t too many television sets in Hollywood where men are allowed to hack as hard as they can into a fresh side of beef. But, Spike TV’s Deadliest Warrior offers more than its share of unique experiences and attitudes.
As the new season plays out on Spike, CraveOnline visited the set to talk to its hosts and to watch how its weekly tests of the world’s baddest human beings of present and past come together.
The series set up shop in a disused warehouse just outside downtown Los Angeles in a neighborhood that looks more than appropriate for a show about war zones. The expansive set seen in every episode – where hosts Richard "Mack" Machowicz, Geoff Desmoulin, Dr. Armand Dorian and Robert Daly discuss a given week’s rivalry between different warriors –is upstairs. Every corner is decorated with the show’s impressive recreations of classic ancient weapons from China, Japan, the ancient Americas, feudal Russia and The Middle East.
The basement holds the weapons research and construction workshop (headed up by master sword maker David Baxter), a weapons test range and a collection of various mannequins hacked or blasted to bits by the show’s tests.
Dr. Dorian comes to the show with a track record in trauma medicine, and what he's seen in the emergency room enables him to evaluate just how much damage weapons of the past do in tests. And he still practices trauma medicine in Los Angeles.
"As a trauma doctor, I obviously have come across some severely wounded people," Dorian said. "To treat trauma victims, you gain a sense of the damage various materials do to flesh and bone. You see how physics and forces of impact interact with various materials to damage to the body."
It falls on Dorian to inspect the various weapons and tactics tests to determine how much damage is done to either an anatomical dummy or a side of beef or pork. He can then pronounce whether the test subject is alive, dead or suspended in bad shape somewhere in between.
The week of our visit, the hosts and crew were pitting the armies of two murderous dictators together. While the weapons and tactics of Saddam Hussein’s Republic Guard squared off against Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge.
During a set break, Mack took a moment to discuss the mindset of a warrior. He sat down and discussed the lessons he looks to communicate through his work as the show’s military tactics and martial arts expert.
"Whenever I'm asked about a specific weapon, I always return to the idea that it's the warrior behind the weapon that matters," Machowicz said. "The man behind that weapon has so much to do with it. Any weapon can do evil. To liberate or massacre. Any weapon can help save lives. After all of the training, after all the refining of skill, intent is everything."
But can Machowicz offer practical combat advice to the average man or woman just walking down the street?
"It's not a matter of a particular martial art or weapon," Machowicz explained. "The mind is the most important weapon. Mindset is the key. Awareness of the situation and your surroundings. The most essential aspect of self defense is the avoidance and the elimination of the potential threat."
As for the threats on display for this particular episode, it's a spoiler to say whether the men of Iraq or Thailand came out on top. All I can say is that the cows and pigs on hand did not fair well."