If you’re a fan of sports, Detroit, or Bob Probert, Tough Guy: The Bob Probert Story is going to tug at your emotions a little.
Tough Guy starts by detailing how a guy like Probert could reach the level of being a crowd favorite of his hometown Detroit Red Wings. Although the Wings weren’t quite on their famous Cup Run, Probert provided a much needed boost in toughness and entertainment. All this came at a time when the Red Wings were known as the Dead Wings. Probie would turn out to be one of the players that would lay the ground work for the Red Wing’s dynasty that would soon follow his tenure. As long time NHL player Jermery Roenick described Probert in the documentary- “he was Mr. Detroit”.
Unfortunately, Probert’s contributions would come at a cost. In order to continue playing (more so fighting) at such a high level, Probert had to resort to various substances to ease the pain. At several points in Probert’s career he faced legal issues ranging from cocaine possession to drunk driving.
Probert’s demons would continue to haunt him for the majority of his life.
Probert will be forever known as one of the greatest fighters in NHL history. Fans loved Probert’s rivalries with other NHL enforcers Wendel Clark, Tie Domi, and Stu Grimson. There was several references in the documentary about Probert’s injuries from these fights including CTE.
When a documentary is able to build a strong emotional bond between the subject and the viewer, especially when the story has already been played out in real life, this is what I view as a classic documentary. A classic documentary can create this bond that will cause the audience to feel pride when the subject is successful, anger at controversial topics, and deep sadness at failures or death.