Release Date: April 15th, 2005 (Houston,TX), by Fine Line Features.
The Cast: Yao Ming, Colin Pine.
BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about the rise and fall of Yao Ming, a Chinese basketball player for the Houston Rockets.
ENTERTAINMENT: This is a very well-shot documentary. However, what makes it the most entertaining is the charisma of Yao Ming. Despite his height of 7'6", he is surprisingly not intimidating and quite shy. The behind-the-scenes look at his stardom is often predictable, but it is still a pleasure to watch. The movie covers many tries to combine many aspects of his life and, at times, it seems too contrived and messy; however, at a running time of 88 minutes, it does not overstay its welcome.
SPIRITUAL VALUE: The real question is if those who are familiar with Yao Ming can learn anything new or surprising about him. The answer is, unfortunately, "no". Ultimately, the documentary feels like its missing something. Yes, his Ming's rise to stardom is very interesting and all, but his fall is even more interesting. If there were more time spent on his fall, perhaps there would be more insight into the mind of Yao Ming. The closest that the movie comes to being touching is the scene when Ming and his translator exchange good-byes at the end. Not that its a very believable scene because it was hard to tell they had a strong friendship throughout the documentary. More focus, better interviews, and more research could've helped make this film feel less bland.
INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Predictable and often feels contrived.
NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 5
THE BOTTOM LINE: A well-shot documentary without any insight which leaves a bland after-taste. The best thing going for it is the charisma of Yao Ming himself.
RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: VHS/DVD
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