Produced by CrossFit itself, "The Redeemed and the Dominant: Fittest on Earth" may seem like a two-hour ad for the fitness brand — and it is — but this documentary is pure entertainment starting from the moments the thundering booms of its soundtrack signify that the games are about to begin.
The athletes sprint, swim, snatch and swing through the 2017 Reebok CrossFit Games in Madison, Wis., facing each grueling new challenge designed by game maker Dave Castro. The men's field is led by returning champ Mat Fraser, while the women's competition is wide open between Tia-Clair Toomey, Annie Thorisdottir, Sara Sigmundsdottir, Kara Webb and Katrin Davidsdottir.
Veterans of previous films about the annual games, directors Heber Cannon, Mariah Moore and Marston Sawyers have an easy rapport with the competitors. They're equally able to offer insight into their minds as capture a 60-foot handstand walk or multiple rounds of hay bale burpees.
The film's about as subtle as a muscular athlete slamming a sledgehammer into a weight (an actual event called a "banger," by the way), particularly when it hints that someone may be using performance-enhancing drugs early on. But what makes "The Redeemed and the Dominant" so engaging isn't the hulking specter of steroids; it's the competitors' feats of strength and speed and their powerful personalities to match.
‘The Redeemed and the Dominant: Fittest on Earth’
Running time: 1 hour, 56 minutes
Playing: Arena Cinelounge, Santa Ana; The Frida Cinema, Santa Ana