People love to speculate as to who would win if two legendary people, or types of people, met and battled. Could the Hulk beat Superman? Who'd win if a pirate and ninja fought? Deadliest Warriror tackles some of these hypothetical match-ups with each episode pairing up two groups of fighters: apache vs. gladiator, samurai vs. viking, etc. Being on Spike TV, the show has as much sensationalism as science.

Following a brief history lesson on each group, Deadliest Warrior tests the science of the damaging impact of the weapons -- short, medium, and long range, plus a specialized weapon -- for speed and damage as they're wielded by experts in the warrior's style of fighting. (Mythbusters fans will regognize the ballistic-gel bodies and use of pigs as human analogues.) All the data is put into a computer, and at the end actors "show" which warrior would be victorious in a battle.

I'd have been more impressed with Deadliest Warrior if they had more actual science or combat and less acting. We don't know anything about the computer program that decides which warrior would win -- and the final acted-out battle is more like a fighting video game (with fighters jumping off bridges, using the terrain, and wielding all four weapons) than a clear demonstration of all the data collected. Using professionals with the weapons is a good idea, but I'd rather have seem them battle with non-lethal versions of the weapons than just have them trash-talking each other through the show. Deadliest Warriror certainly won't provide a definitive answer on which ancient warriors would win if they ever fought; it's also far more attitude than science.

Overall grade: D
Reviewed by James Lynch

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