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xmag.com : October 2002: The Jack Shack

The porn vid highlighted this month has a few glimpses of hot model Angela Taylor prancing around in thong and top, but other than that there is no sex except one five-second shot of a bum getting a blow job off another bum. Bumfights: Cause for Concern is not a porn vid in the strictest sense, but this adventure in the sewer deserves a review in The Jack Shack.

Shot mostly with a hand-held camera by a director overly enamored with a fisheye lens, Bumfights is filled with violence, sick pranks, catfights, paranoid crackheads, and raw gore. The vid has captured the imagination of perverted minds from coast to coast. It's been trashed on CNN and many other news outlets for plumbing the depths of bad taste. The bad publicity has been wonderful for the producers of Bumfights, Ray Latina and Ty Beeson, both twenty-year-old graduates of film schools. It has sold over 200,000 copies to date. Most porn vids top out at about 5,000 copies.

The title is somewhat misleading. Although there are a few bum fights, for the most part the fights are among young guys, mostly white, in and around Las Vegas. This is not a documentary. None of the fighters are interviewed. There's no voiceover narration indicating where the fights take place, who is doing the fighting, why they are kicking the shit out of each other, or what the fuck is really going down. Yet that is what makes the vid appealing. Fifty-six minutes of random, meaningless violence.

Many of the fights are organized bouts, or rather, organized along the lines of raves years ago, when word of mouth spread the news of an underground happening.

Young guys dressed in jeans and T-shirts punch, kick, and grapple with each other in a parking lot surrounded by throngs of people. The people in the crowds and the fighters don't look that tough. They look like mall rats. But the fights are brutal. It's mass delinquency and organized mayhem on a grand scale. Bare-knuckled boxers swing wildly at each other, occasionally landing a bloody punch. One guy jumps on another and pounds his head in the pavement...a husky kid with a crewcut lands a sucker punch to the jaw of a jerk taunting him...a little guy throws a headlock on his opponent and repeatedly smashes him on the back of his neck.

The flow of the vid is sheer chaos. There is no beginning, middle or end. It opens with two bums in a public restroom hurling garbage cans at each other. Some continuity is provided through Rufus the "Stunt Bum," a scraggly, bearded wino befriended by the film makers, who take him to a tattoo parlor and engrave the words "bum fight" on his fists. Rufus's

specialty is ramming his head into stacks of crates and walls, which he does repeatedly, one time rushing headlong into a fast-food drive-through sign. He tumbles down an embankment in a shopping cart, chugs a forty-ouncer, and collapses on the pavement, only to be revived and driven down the Las Vegas strip in an open car hurling epithets at passersby heading to the casinos.

T-Bone the crack dealer asks us not to patronize Mexicans. "Bring yo money to a black man, my shit is fat, I serve rocks all day." Another bug-eyed crack dealer, Bling Bling, rambles on about getting captured by extraterrestrials and shows how he hides his crack pipe under the collar of his smelly shirt. A big black guy jerks his front tooth out with a pair
of pliers.

The funniest part of the vid is a parody of the Aussie crocodile hunter on Animal Planet. "The Bum Hunter," dressed like the Croc Hunter, creeps up on vagrants in the middle of the night, pounces on them, ties them up with duct tape, and marks his "specimens" with a Magic Marker. Todd Richard Lewis has it down in his role as the Bum Hunter. After tying up one of his struggling specimens he assures him, "I'm not gonna hurt ya, mate, just relax now, calm down. Ohhh, we got a wild one here, just want to do some routine checks on ya. A young buck. Don't find many of these in the wilds."

He takes out a tape and measures his prey's shoulder blades and marks him on the forehead #142. The bum who is awakened under his blanket can't figure out what is going on. He's not frightened, just startled and confused. The producers of the vid say none of this was staged. Maybe, maybe not, but the bum sort of falls into the swing of things. At first he protests: "What ya want? I'm not doing nothing." The bum hunter shines his flashlight on the guy's head. "Looks like we got a lot of dandruff here." The specimen replies: "I ain't got no dandruff."

One bum gets a broken ankle in a fight, but that's a small hurt in the life of bums. People can whine all they want about the dehumanization and violence for violence's sake in Bumfights, but this journey into the wretched landfill of wasted-out existence is fine tonic for the voyeur.

For more info on ordering the vid and all the other crap in the Bumfight catalog, check out bumfights.com.






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