Admit it. If someone were to say to you Flash Gordon you would immediately respond with "Ah-ahhhh". Yes the theme song by Queen is normally the first thing that pops into a person's mind when thinking of the 1980 film of the same title. But it was more than that when released. The film was a visual spectacle and one of the earliest superhero movies to come out. But what happens when the lights go dim and the movie closes? This movie attempts to answer that story, mostly focusing on the titular star of the film Sam J. Jones.
Jones first major roll was as that heroic lead character. He only shows two previous credits before that in movies. But he fell to the same problems that most young actors do. He listened to handlers who gave bad advice and he got so caught up in the promise of fame that he caused problems on set. The last of these, as we learn later in the film, is not returning for the last part of shooting. The result was a stand in for those shots and someone else dubbing his voice in the film. So what became of Jones after all of this took place?
His career had its ups and downs as he starred in a TV series, did small roles in series and made a few direct to video movies. The film opens with him setting up for a fan convention where he gladly signs autographs for fans who still remember him most from the FLASH GORDON film but who now also know him from the two TED films. He's an amiable guy and happy that the fans remember him. But he wasn't alone.
The film moves on to talk to various cast members about their experience on the set of the film and how they came to be involved. Director/writer Lisa Downs also talks to various celebrities to discuss the effect the film had on them as well. Director Robert Rodriquez, Stan Lee, John Heder, Ross Marquand, Mark Millar and more weigh in on how the movie impacted them and continues to have a place in their hearts.
This takes up a good portion of the film but it always comes back to Jones. We see him setting up at yet another convention and then learn through interviews with friends and family about the downside of Hollywood fame. His first marriage broke up due to his adulterous ways and he openly admits that here. His fall from grace did some damage but he got back up and started acting again. Then his career took another nosedive. By this time he was remarried and his wife Ramona dealt with his depression by telling him maybe it was time to follow another path.
Taking her advice Jones went on to become a security consultant and bodyguard. Falling back on his training as a Marine he eased into this new career without a problem and talks about his time doing this as well. He also found that being a father was more important than being a star and that family is all about finding himself and God as well. The movie doesn't push this but makes a point of Jones being thankful for the opportunities that have come his way.
In the end the movie is about redemption. It tells the story of a young man who allows fame to go to his head but who walks back from that and finds a more fulfilling life than he expected when it all went to pieces. He discovers the fans still adore him and want to meet him and he's humbled by it. Where far too many stories from Hollywood find people that delve deep into drugs or suicide once fame disappears it was nice to see something positive come from Jones story. The film offers plenty of behind the scenes information as well as a look at a decent human being and is entertaining while doing so. This is one that is definitely worth watching.
Life After Flash
Action / Documentary
Life After Flash
Action / Documentary
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"Life After Flash" looks at the roller coaster life of Sam J Jones since his role as Flash Gordon, his struggles and successes, and the aftermath of when he went up against one of the most powerful producers in Hollywood.
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