Winners are born not made. This was the line in my head before watching the Klitschko brothers' story. Knowing nothing about them, this is the ideal dvd to follow their journey from kick-boxing youngsters to Heavyweight champions. The line which came to me whilst watching was: theirs is an untidy story. A unique boxing story but also a typical post-Soviet experience. Talent had to flee.
As a documentary it could have used a lot more pace and ditched the fancy camera shots and brooding music track. I was fascinated by the German connection, they speak German as well as Russian (I trust the sub titles for that information) and the corrupt Ukranian political situation. Even the Chernobyl disaster was well covered.
I sensed that once again a boxing story is so dependent on the skill and honesty of those closest to the boxer. Trainers and Managers. Apart from the aversion to Don King and the comment on a trainer that: 'he knows my body better than my wife!' this side of the story is not delved into.
I was particularly pleased to hear the question about them boxing each other was left to near the end. The relationship between the two brothers is clearly two rail tracks on the same line. A loving mother and the caring, disciplined father. Rock steady feet.
I threw the dvd into my shopping basket at the local supermarket now that it is a fiver, I recommend the story of two men who reached the top of the mountain. Boxing at its best is a way out and a way in. Well played both brothers.
Any fans of heavyweight boxing will at least remember the late 90s and early 2000s as an exciting time, whether they were Klitschko fans or not. Lennox Lewis was King and the two Ukrainian giants were up and coming in the heavyweight division. This DVD takes you step by step through the years leading up to the emergence of Vladimir and Vitali in the heavyweight division, the ups and downs of their heavyweight fights, and their dream of "World domination" finally being realised.
The documentary is an eye opener for boxing fans in that it shows some unseen footage of Vitali as a lanky 190lb kickboxer in what appears to be the late 1980s and footage of Vladimir boxing in Germany as an amateur prior to winning an Olympic Gold medal in 1996. The brothers appear to be very fast and powerful athletes at that time, and this gives a more complete picture of what they were capable of in terms of speed prior to putting on 50lb or 60lb in weight to compete as super heavyweights. Thus much of the criticism levelled against them during their professional careers for being cumbersome and not throwing enough combination punches is put into perspective. They are fine athletes, but have seemingly made compromises and slowed down in exchange for the much needed power that the modern era of super-heavyweights must have.
Viewing their parents being interviewed, Vladimir visiting his old house, or the brothers engaging in hobbies gives a feel for what they are like in their personal lives. For anyone who has been a fan of the brothers for a long time this is a much welcome insight that goes some way towards satiating the curiosity of boxing fans who wonder why one brother is so resilient while the other one has at times seemed fragile in the ring. It appears Vladimir has his own views on this. He does compare his ups and downs in the ring to the ups and downs of the "greats" like Tyson and Joe Louis. Whether this opinion has any merit depends largely on whether the tall, stand-up, and careful style of a 6ft 7ins fighter who boxes behind the jab will ever be respected by boxing fans in the same way as the 220lb 6ft tall boxers who come forward to fight. I think I know the answer, but then the comparison is not as straight forward as it seems in any case.
The DVD appears to avoid mentioning Vladimir being selected by the authorities in the Soviet Union to begin boxing due to his apparent natural potential as a 14 year old athlete. This is something I heard the late (and great) Manny Steward, and Vladimir talk about in separate interviews, although it appears Vladimir is not fond of the fact that he was chosen to be a boxer by the system. There is footage in the deleted scenes of him visiting some kind of sports school which he attended as a teenager, but he does not mention if this was part of a Soviet sports programme. It is disappointing that details of this were not included in the DVD. For that reason I will give it four stars, but if you are a Klitschko fan I think you will give it five for the unseen fight footage and the perspective on who they are outside of the ring.
This is an excellent film covering the lives and careers of Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko. It reminded me of "Senna" another brilliant documentary that had as much drama as fiction. It helps that the Klitschko brothers are very intelligent fighters who plan their careers and have the ability to criticise themselves. The film is aided by the views of many who have trained and who have fought the brothers. The violence of the sport is ably shown by the Lennox Lewis and Samuel Peter fights; but you can see the brothers adapting, learning building up their ferociously intelligent fighting style. There are scenes with their parents and of the beginnings of Vitali's political career but above all that it is a tale of two brothers. Made in 2011 it ends with the comment, "..to be continued"
Bored, bored, bored...seen that, seen that, what shall I watch now?...Hmm, a boxing doc on the Klitschko's? It's going to be a tacky cheap load of clips of fights cut and pasted together but let's watch the intro anyways... Ok, impressive opening, lovely DP work, sensitive subtle music, interesting engaging use of mixed media, hold on...this is actually good, actually better than good... I was totally drawn in by this like an over-confident sparring partner and it weaved, bobbed and jabbed with great timing and balance. No drop outs at any point, mixes the technical with the family story and their rise to dominance superbly. It's rare that I watch something twice but there will be a rematch on this guaranteed. Enjoy...
I'm not as big a fan of the heavyweight division in boxing as I used to be, but like them or not the Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko are here to stay. Collectively they have unified all the major belts in the sport, and they are showing no signs of slowing down.
I think this film has come about at the right time - when fans of boxing are lamenting the dip in quality heavyweight boxers. This isn't the most in depth account of the two brothers but for me it goes some way to balancing out the dip in quality argument by demonstrating what they (Wladimir especially) had to do to get to the top. As Lamon Brewster said: there are easier ways to make a living and they could have been anything. They are both extremely intelligent men; both hold PHd's but they chose to box, and they have become the best of this era. Vitali's knockout to fight ratio of 41/45 is beaten only by Rocky Marciano.
Whats immediately apparent is the quality of production of this feature length documentary. The direction and sound are brilliant for a doc of this type. The one negative for me is the over dramatic score underlining all of the fight footage. It just cheapens it slightly. It doesn't belong here in such volume.
The film mainly chronicles the brothers' important heavyweight bouts and also takes time covering their losses, with the help of brutal slow motion filming in the ring - the quality is so good here you think you are watching a boxing movie at times. It spends time showing the comebacks of both fighters: Wladimir's after knockout losses and Vitali's after injury (and what kickstarted his entrance into politics). Above all it shows what a unified team they are. The film is underpinned with interviews with former world champions Chris Byrd, Lamon Brewster and the last undisputed champion Lennox Lewis. With great insight with Emanuel Steward, who trained and revamped their style after losses (12 years with Wladimir) until his tragic passing earlier this month.
I was surprised that in no way does the film idolise the brothers or shamelessly promote Vitali's politics, It shows them for what they are, respectful champions and people with class. If you are any sort of boxing fan watch this, if you are fed up with the Klitschko's, watch this to better understand how and what they have actually achieved in the sport. I may have lost touch slightly with the heavyweight division in favour of the lighter weight classrs, but I can't deny how much the Klitschko's have achieved both inside and out of the ring.
This is a brilliant documentary, beautifully filmed with a lovely soundtrack, showing the highs and lows of the Klitschko Brothers, in an honest portrayal. Great for boxing and NON boxing fans as ultimately it is about the people as well as the sport of boxing. Buy it, you won't be disappointed, great extra footage in the deleted scenes section. x
It trully is an amazing story about two great athletes, their struggle to reach the top and most importantly to stay there. The film explores quite well the lifes of the two brothers and tells their amazing story in a vivid way. The footage used is excellent and its like watching a boxing match at times. It's simply an awesome documentary about two great (and quite tall) men and a must have for a boxing fan.