Ax Men: The Complete Season Two – DVD Review

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There are particular shows that deal with celebrities and athletes, but it’s kind of hard to relate to people like that because ninety-nine percent of us will never reach their particular status. Show me the garbage men and the type of random crap they find in dumpsters. Let me see what it’s like fishermen to risk their lives on the high seas searching for crabs. I want to witness the bugs and vermin that infect people’s homes and the brave souls that know how to get rid of them. Or perhaps show me the hard-working and dangerous world of not so old-fashioned logging.

Ax Men is a series that follows five logging teams (one more this season then in the first) as they race to generate the most lumber during the logging season. It is a dangerous time and an incredibly volatile job that puts the lives of these men at risk every single second they are on the clock. No matter whether it is the weather or the steep inclines or the falling trees from every angle, the guys need to rely on their instincts and their co-workers to stay safe. Each team has their own ways of logging and use different methods in order to fall as much timber as possible to not only make their money but also for some bragging rights among the other guys. Gone from this season are Stump-Branch Logging and Gustafson Logging, but they are replaced by some rather interesting and somewhat unorthodox teams.

Pihl Logging (returning team): Owned and run by Mike Pihl. His son Dustin is also on the team.

J.M. Browning Logging (returning team): Long time logging veteran Jim Browning owns this company that also employs his sons Jesse and Jared. Browning is very hard nosed and wants only the best on his team.

Rygaard Logging: Craig Rygaard owns this sixteen-year-old company and runs it with the help of his sons Jason and Gabe.

R&R Conner Aviation: Ryan and Robin Conner own this rather nontraditional logging company that take part in “heli-logging.” This process helps speed up the process by picking up fallen trees and air-lifting them to access roads for easier pick-up.

S&S Aqua Logging: This is yet another unique company and it is owned by Jimmy Smith with the help of his son James. S&S goes back to the past by trudging through the waters to lift up old logs that have sunken to the bottom of riverbeds.

Season two took a big turn from the first by bringing in the much different teams of R&R and S&S to compete with the more traditional teams of Browning, Rygaard, and Pihl. That doesn’t mean that things weren’t already exciting enough, but it does help bring about some new and exciting challenges for viewers to get involved with. S&S is even in the middle of a legal battle after episodes showed them lifting logs without permits. It is an ongoing investigation and will likely be played out more in season three if the team sticks around. There is plenty more though to take part in with equipment failures, heated arguments between teammates, constant problems with the weather, death-defying moments for almost every employee, and never-ending time constraints putting the owners in permanent feelings of stress.

Ax Men does follow along the lines of series that have come before them such as The Deadliest Catch, Ice Road Truckers, and even in some ways, Dirty Jobs. Viewers are placed right there in the thick of things and given all they need to experience the life of a hardcore logger. Well, without actually handing over the keys to the equipment or a chainsaw but that may be for the best. You’re going to get to know these guys very well, but only really out in the woods. One of the nicest things about The Deadliest Catch was that the men were shown not only on the boat but also during their own time and it allowed fans to get to know them better. Ax Men will get you associated with the loggers, but the close connection with them never quite makes it. Besides that though, you’re in for a wild ride by land, by sea, and also by air.

Episodes

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Disc One:

Road To Season 2
Ax Men Cometh
Initiation Day
By Air, Land And Sea

Disc Two:

Moby Dick Strikes
The King Crumbles
Lost In The Fog

Disc Three:

One Weak Link
The Ax Falls
Fresh Meat

Disc Four:

Clash Of The Titans
The Reckoning, Part 1
The Reckoning, Part 2

The episodes are shown in Full Screen format and look like they made a good transition from television to disc. The audio quality is only Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo Sound, and I would have liked a bit more from this particular function. Yeah, there is a lot of dialogue throughout, but how cool would it have been to have the sound of trees falling come from all around the room? Kind of disappointing.

Additional Footage – Some cut scenes showing a lot of the same stuff you see throughout the season. Not that it is boring or anything, but it’s what we already get in the episodes. (30:45)

While it is exciting at times and filled with lots of tensions, Ax Men just doesn’t appear to me as if it will have the staying power that some of the other dangerous job television series have. So it may be a bit repetitive at times, but so is The Deadliest Catch with the crabbing and Ice Road Truckers with the driving. My problem still is that I just can’t associate with any of the loggers because you’re never given the chance to really get to know them. I want to be able to care about these guys and hope they make it or hope they fail in case some of them turn out to be total schmucks. There’s been no word on a third season yet so only time will tell. The opportunity to be another huge hit is there, but a few things just need to be changed. A severe lack of special features makes buying this series not really a sure thing so go for a rental before screaming TIMBER!


A&E Home Video presents Ax Men: The Complete Season Two. Created by: Thom Beers. Starring: Various. Running time: 611 minutes on 4 discs. Rating: Not Rated. Released on DVD: September 29, 2009. Available at Amazon.com