You Cannot Kill David Arquette is the redemptive tale of washed-up Hollywood actor David Arquette and his attempt to redeem the mistakes of his past.
In 2002, Arquette decided to cross-promote his comedy film about wrestling fans, Ready to Rumble, by entering the wrestling ring himself. However, the gimmick snowballed into Arquette actually winning the World Heavyweight Championship, which betrayed the sport and still infuriates fans and wrestlers to this day.
The documentary follows Arquette now, amid many physical and psychological struggles, he attributes the foray into wrestling to the downfall of his acting career. Presently though, Arquette believes that to quell his personal demons or perhaps reconnect with the happiness felt as a child while wrestling, he must train himself to return to professional wrestling.
While the project itself may be self-indulgent, it is highly entertaining in how it unveils the extreme physical duress and hard work required for wrestling despite its artificiality. With all his ailments, Arquette voraciously throws himself into the wrestling deep-end that yields sympathy and squeamishness in equal measure.
In montages reminiscent of classic sporting films, Arquette begins on the indie circuit, fighting matches in rural backyards and competing in street wrestling for pocket change. His family and friends express grave concern when his body gets banged up with cuts and bruises. However, the sense of belonging he feels restores joy to his demeanour; “you don’t know how these guys treat me”, he pleads to his wife, Christina.
The film is almost masochistic in its triumph, as Arquette undergoes gruelling pain to repent for the disrespect he showed to the sport he loved. The vagaries of the film’s purpose are summarised pointedly by David’s brother Richmond who believes “David wants love.” However, this search for love culminates in a gruesomely violent deathmatch with Nick Gage, where the audience might question if the ends justify the means.
In the match, Arquette is stabbed in the neck with shards of glass and rushed to hospital, with the film’s producers noticeably panicked. This particular moment made tabloid headlines, and with brief snippets of pop-culture figures like Joe Rogan deriding him, one might wonder if there are easier ways to feel love.
In any case, You Cannot Kill David Arquette is an exhilarating insight into the complicated soul of David Arquette that vindicates his baptism of fire back into the wrestling community.
The injury to the neck David Arquette received in the match with Nick Gage was real. He also was cut badly on the upper forehead. The wrestler tried to make an example out of the actor (Arquette) trying to be a wrestler. In real life Arquette received a lot of respect in the wrestling industry after continuing on to wrestle.