The mighty Vic Armstrong has made his way to the page now in a book that almost seems to do the reading for you.
Armstrong is one of the world’s most famous stuntmen ever to grace our screens – not that you’d know it if you weren’t looking for him. But Vic has performed some pretty tough stuff – leaping from helicopters onto mountain sides, fighting men twice his size, jumping from horses onto tanks, scaling down ropes dressed as a ninja assassin… his list of film credits are enormous.
This book (with an introduction from Steven Spielberg) skips through Vic’s background quickly before launching right into his time on screen as a young stuntman – back in the days of You Only Live Twice, right up to modern day where he’s now prepping work as a unit director for The Amazing Spider-Man. The many chapters in between (and there are many) are all very short and to the point. He sets up each job he’s taken on and highlights moments in time that he remembers – getting to play Harrison Ford’s double on Raiders of the Lost Ark (and then right through various other films including the sequels); being mistaken for Harrison Ford (even by Ford’s own kid!); getting lost at a strangers house trying to find Ford. But it isn’t all Ford-centric. There are many other projects – and you get to follow his career as he climbed the action ladder into the pilot role of second unit director, and also director as well.
Any fan of action cinema from the 80s to 90s period will be familiar with the many features Armstrong has worked on – and he’s worked with some of the toughest directors on some of their biggest films (Spielberg and Verhoven included) as well as the biggest action stars – Schwarzenegger, Lundgren, Van Damme and Stallone to name just the big guys.
By the end of this book you’ll be rooting for Vic to get to take the main reins again to truly deliver a full on Armstrong vision. He comes off very honestly in this book. He has a tale or two to tell, but he never veers off into gossip or feels the need to kick anyone down – aside from perhaps the odd jibe or altercation that ended in confusion.
The book is around the 300-page mark making each of the many chapters very short and easy to read. This makes it easy to put down, but also one of the fastest reads you’re likely to come across. For us film fans it’s nice to have an alternative view of the filmmaking process. And you’ll get to hear about all sorts of death defying leaps of insanity that Vic was involved with, if not committing to screen himself.