Overview: A chronicle through the life and career of one of the greatest boxers of all time. Wonderspun; Rated PG-13; 88 minutes.
It Needs to Happen: I know I’m beating a dead horse, but Manny Pacquaio and Floyd Mayweather Jr. need to fight. Boxing has lost some steam since its heyday, but, as one of the most technical sports out there, it deserves to be in the limelight again. After a recent disagreement with a friend, I was forced to admit that the sport seems to be dying, at least in the mainstream media. Boxing is not covered by ESPN or any other sports news source to the degree it should be. Ideally, this documentary will reach enough people to shed some light for those not educated on the sport, because it the sweet science is an awesome thing to witness.
Second Coming: For those interested in boxing, especially those in their mid to late twenties, Manny offers a heavy dose of nostalgia. Pacquiaio arrived in the late ’90s when heavy weight boxing still ruled the roost. I mean, this was when Mike Tyson was still famous for being a boxer, and who doesn’t know who Mike Tyson is? The general public might think of boxing as a promoter’s sport, driven by big names and extravagant events, but the story behind how Manny reached his stardom is something inspirational for everyone, the sort of testimony that makes me hate myself when I cry about getting up too early. That sub-surface investigation is the strength of this film, and thanks to the recent surge of sports documentaries (credit to ESPN’s 30 for 30 series) we get to experience a ton of deeply rooted and inspiring sports stories. With Manny, what sets the story aside from the rest is how much turmoil Pacquaio experienced in his journey. Not only though his upbringing but in his personal struggles with faith, family, and infidelity.
A Few Missteps: Coming from director Leon Gast, who directed the incredible When We Were Kings, Manny ends up being less polished than expected. The occasionally rough editing coupled with the overbearing music draws attention away from the strength of the central story. For a film in which testimony is so heavy, the words are sometimes difficult to hear. And there was an overuse of tilting when changing frames that disrupts the narrative flow.
Overall: This is a true story is pure inspiration. Pacquiao’s hard work and dedication toward providing his family and country with something greater drove him to become an icon. Outside of a few technical missteps, Manny accomplishes what it sets out to do: Inspire though telling the story of one of the greatest boxers of all time. Here’s to hoping this film assists in swinging boxing back into the mainstream attention enough to ensure this showdown between Pacquaio and Mayweather Jr. would. Boxing lovers need this, Bob Arum.*
*Bob Arum (promoter for Manny Pacquiao) stated last month that both fighters have agreed to fight next May. Who knows? We can all just hope. But this did happen a few days ago…