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'Man at Arms' meets 'Game of Thrones' in the ultimate weapons test

2019-07-01 19:00
man at arms

Cape Town - The series, produced by cult director Robert Rondriguez’ El Rey network, sees the experts from Baltimore Knife and Sword create authentic replicas of the deadliest weapons from film, fantasy and history, crafting them from scratch and forging them in fire. Once they’ve cooled off, host Danny Trejo and his team of expert stunt professionals get to play, christening their creations in extreme tests designed to put each weapon through its paces and demonstrate its power.

This season includes beautiful blades from short swords to broadswords, scimitars, thrusting spears and – surprise! – a machete for Machete.

Man at Arms is the ultimate reality show for gamers, fan-boys and -girls, combat sports fans, hobbyists, lovers of history, anyone who appreciates good craftsmanship or just loves knowing how stuff works and how it’s made. It also promises plenty of delicious Hulk-smash moments for those of us who know the insanity of watching host Danny Trejo let rip on an unsuspecting test-subject, even if it is a wooden dummy.


The season premieres at 21:10 on Monday 1 July on History (DStv 186), but the episode we’re most excited about will see the team forge and test some of the iconic weapons from Game of Thrones – the Oathkeeper and the Red Viper Spear. (Watch this episode on 15 July at 21:10.)

The Oathkeeper is the sword Jaime gives Brienne to protect Sansa when she becomes Cersei’s target of the week in season four, episode four of GOT. The massive longsword is one of two forged from Ned Stark’s greatsword, Ice. Fittingly, Brienne names the blade Oathkeeper, and uses it to put Stannis Baratheon out of our misery, so you’ll have to forgive any inappropriate affection we may feel for it. Presumably, the replica won’t be forged from Valyrian steel and Lannister gold or have Sandor Clegane to put it to the test on a blasted hilltop, but it’s going to be a thing of beauty when it’s done.

The Red Viper Spear belongs to Prince Oberyn Martell, also known as the Red Viper of Dorne. The father of the deadly-beautiful Sand Snakes wields a long, light spear that’s perfect for dancing around Gregor Clegane in the episode The Mountain and the Viper. Sadly for him (and traumatically for us) that doesn’t work out so well for Oberyn, but the weapon has a secret bite – Manticore venom, which kills Clegane, but has the unfortunate side-effect of resulting in Zombie Mountain.


Gamers tune in – this season of Man at Arms will also feature the Hidden Blade and the scimitar from Assassin’s Creed, and they’ll forge The Witcher’s Aerondight Silver Sword and brutal Warhammer.

They’ll also build some iconic weapons from the comics, including Wonder Woman's shield. It’s one thing to make things to hit, cut, stab or smash stuff, but making the shield to protect you against those things is a different story. The Amazon princess’s shield is “not of our world”. It’s powerful, durable, heat resistant, practically indestructible and oh, impervious to machinegun fire. Whether the replica will live up to these specs remains to be seen, but we can also look forward to seeing the crew fashion Arrow villain Deathstroke's twin blades in the same episode.

Lovers of martial arts and combat sports will appreciate the masterful Kung Fu weapons of ancient China – the Jian and the 3-Section Staff, and if history and ancient cultures are your passion, don’t miss the weapons from the ancient Philippines, Persia, and the Incan civilisation. Finally, there’ll be a surprise for the host – a machete for Machete. The season finale also features two guests: director Robert Rodriguez (Desperado, From Dusk Till Dawn, Sin City, Spy Kids, Machete) and his son Rebel. 

A scene from Man at Arms.


Who better to host a show about weapons than a man who is actually known as Machete, Cuchillo, Navajas, Razor Charlie, and Captain Machine Gun? The larger-than-life actor with the distinctive sombrero-girl chest tattoo spent his youth behind bars, turned his life around and became one of the busiest but also nicest and humblest guys in the film businesses, despite the villains he plays on screen. He’s 75 years old this year – not that you can tell. The “scariest face in Hollywood” has looked pretty much the same since he started out as Eric Roberts’ boxing trainer for Runaway Train almost 35 years ago.

The Danny Trejo cameo is a stamp of approval for whole genres of films from action to horror, Westerns to sci-fi, a slew of B-grade cult classics and Grindhouse movies, A-list comedies and even the classic Spy Kids franchise, Muppets Most Wanted and the upcoming live-action movie Dora and the Lost City of Gold. He’s worked with just about everyone who’s anyone in Hollywood – De Niro, Banderas, Ferrell, Stallone, Clooney, Buscemi … the list goes on, and he has a staggering 382 credits to his name so far. The cult star of Heat, Desperado, Con Air, From Dusk Till Dawn and of course, Machete, was also Breaking Bad’s Tortuga, whose head ended up … well let’s just say, the one thing Trejo does almost as well on screen as killing, is dying. And he’s still coming back for more.

While no-one’s killing, no-one’s dying and no-one’s getting maimed in Man at Arms (“Always wear your safety glasses”), there’s more than enough action, great weapons and great craftsmanship on display to make us deeply happy, not to mention the special treat of occasionally sharing a laugh with the ultimate Hollywood badass.


Man at Arms S2 starts on Monday 1 July on History (DStv 186) at 21:10

Read more on:    tv  |  game of thrones

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