Jungle
Ax Men

Ax Men

Starring: 
Network(s): 
On DVD: 
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Grade:
C+

AX MEN is History Channels newest reality series following four logging companies in their make or break effort to put money in their pockets and get out alive, literally. Battling against weather, machinery, and human error the crews must be aware of everything around them in order to avoid losing a limb or worse.  The premiere episode begins with an introduction of the logging crews; J.M. Browning Logging, Stump Branch Logging, Pihl Logging, and Gustafson Logging. Along with the crews you get an introduction of the crews job sites which have character traits all their own that will test each crew’s experience and ingenuity.

As I watched the show the main theme that kept recurring, weather in the narration of the show or in comments made by the individual crew members, was that there is a very real chance that you might show up to work and not come home alive. As the crews set up to begin their shifts and the technology of the machinery was explained there wasn’t really a build up of anxiety or expectation. To be honest I just watched and listened and found that my inexperience with logging was simply to much of a burden for the show to get over as far as coming across as a topic that would captivate me. Twenty two minutes into the show one of the loggers nearly lost a leg as a wire being hoisted by a helicopter nearly wrapped itself around him. It was almost a non-event watching him pretty much lift his leg and hop out of the way but as he ran up the hill to avoid the rest of the wire there was a look on his face of absolute terror and that’s when every explanation about logging from earlier in the show started to make sense. The way the loggers eyes bulged and his throat was animated with sporadic hard swallows you could tell that he had just escaped the loss of his leg. All those random machines and wires that pull downed tree’s from deep below the hillside were no longer simply just machines and wire that performed a function, they were death traps waiting to happen. In that, I think that the show should have been a two hour premiere rather then a one hour premiere as I felt the amount of action compared to introduction just took to long.

On a personal level these are my kind of people. The work environment permits them to be open with one another and not have to worry about offending someone else or being slapped with a lawsuit because you hurt someone’s feelings. This is a job that you have to trust those around you or not have them around at all. In that sense the uncensored realism in their demeanors was an excellent factor in the show. You had the old experienced loggers who had a seasoned sort of humor about them and then you had the younger guys who accepted being the butt of jokes but also really had a vibe about them that they understood the work and that they wanted to prove themselves, yet the look in their eyes motioned change, almost as if you could see the cogs behind their eyes working to find a better way of doing things.

I was torn on the premiere episode as I felt it was only half exciting. I don’t think their was enough there to bring the high anticipation moments and a few times I felt almost as if I was insulting the loggers by feeling that some of the trouble they ran into was not a big deal. I think once the show gets off the ground, and as the crews face more hardships, understanding will fall into place and those moments where your on the edge of your seat will kick in.

The premiere episode will air on The History Channel March 9th at 10 PM.

AJ Garcia
Review by AJ Garcia
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