The Reel Review


Members of the close-knit, North Texas-based Von Erich family, who dominated pro wrestling in the early 1980s amidst almost unfathomable tragedies, are profiled in this sports biopic starring Zac Efron, Jeremy Allen White (The Bear) and Harris Dickinson (Triangle of Sadness).

Harris Dickinson, Zac Efron, Stanley Simons and Jeremy Allen White in The Iron Claw

Showcasing an almost unrecognizable physical transformation by Efron and some accurately awful hairstyles, this biopic from writer/director Sean Durkin (Martha Marcy May Marlene) captures the grueling physicality and performative aspect of pro wrestling as well as the insularity of the Von Erich family under its controlling patriarch Fritz, which contributed to its demise. Durkin’s decision to completely omit youngest brother Chris Von Erich, who also died by suicide in 1991, however, is as puzzling as it is pointless.

Zac Efron in The Iron Claw

As stylish as the slickly choreographed, montage-heavy film looks, it is thin on storytelling, only skimming the surface of the complex Von Erich family dynamic, which diminishes the impact of their shocking spate of family tragedies. Kerry Von Erich’s foot amputation gets very brief attention. With the reunion of dead brothers near the end of the film feeling a bit more strange than heartfelt, The Iron Claw is still good, just not world champion caliber, and will leave longtime fans of the Von Erich pro wrestling dynasty feeling a bit shortchanged.


Zac Efron in 2019 and 2022

• In a 2022 Men’s Health magazine article, Zac Efron attributed the considerable growth of his jaw muscles as the result of his jaw becoming shattered and detached during a 2021 fall in his home.

Mike, Kevin, David and Kerry Von Erich

• Kerry Von Erich lost his foot following a motorcycle accident in 1986, two years after he won the NWA title from Ric Flair, not the same night as depicted in the film.

Kevin Von Erich in 2023.

• Kevin Von Erich, who lives in Hawaii with wife Pam, has praised The Iron Claw, while taking issue with its unsympathetic portrait of his father, Fritz, which Kevin says was inaccurate.


Video & Photo

1 videos

Write a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.