October 11, 2019

Gary Kent...DANGER GOD

Featuring Gary Kent, Tomi Barrett, John “Bud” Carlos, Monte Helman, Bob Ivy, Richard Rush, Chuck Bail, Esai Morales, Marc Singer, Samuel M. Sherman. Directed by Joe O’Connell. (100 minutes)

Review by Fluffy the Fearless😸

As a stuntman and actor, Gary Kent has been working on the outer fringes of the movie business for over six decades. If you’ve never heard of him, it’s probably because the closest he ever came to mainstream Hollywood was a walk-on role in 1974’s Freebie and the Bean. However, Kent’s filmography is long and varied, from B-westerns & biker flicks in the ‘60s to his latest, the highly-anticipated Sex Terrorists on Wheels.

He was supposedly the inspiration for Brad Pitt’s character in Once Upon a Time and Hollywood – including being at Spahn Ranch while the Manson family was there – but there’s a lot more to Kent than that infamous encounter and he discusses it only briefly. The rest of Danger God is a charming documentary of his entire life and career.

Gary Kent vs. the paperboy. Kent lost this round.
And what a life. It doesn’t look like Kent ever raked in millions, but sure loved what he did. He performed and coordinated stuntwork for all sorts of low budget films, even directing a few here & there. Some of them are cult classics, but most have faded into obscurity. He remained life-long friends with many of the directors he worked with, who share plenty of anecdotes with each other and through individual interviews.

Kent also talks about his upbringing in Washington State, quitting college to work in Hollywood and eventually meeting the love of his life, Tomi Barrett, his wife and occasional colleague until her death in 2005. A particularly bittersweet moment is a largely unspoken one, when he’s revisiting his hometown and alma mater. With Tomi gone and having outlived all his siblings, he’s fighting tears as he passes through town. The fact that he comes across as a sweetheart of a man might make the viewer a little misty, as well.

Yet as of this writing, even with ongoing health issues, Gary Kent is still working! We see him on the set of 2018’s Virgin Cheerleaders in Chains, and while he’s no longer physically able to fall off a horse, he obviously still loves what he does. That love may not compel one to explore Kent’s decidedly dubious filmography, but his own story is a must-see for movie history buffs.


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