Quijano: “Manny”

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By Jingo Quijano

Last Round

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

MANNY” is a documentary film on Manny Pacquiao narrated by Academy Award Nominee Liam Neeson which had its world premiere during the SXSW 2014 Film Festival in Austin Texas last March 7-15.

It is directed and produced by Ryan Moore.

The film includes interviews by Hollywood celebrities such as Mark Wahlberg and Jeremy Piven plus the usual boxing cognoscenti.


THE MOVIE. The film starts poignantly with Manny Pacquiao asking the question: Why do I fight?

That haunting question is then juxtaposed with a rather disturbing and shocking replay of his one punch knockout at the hands of arch-rival Juan Manuel Marquez.

Then it harkens back to his dirt-poor childhood. The film unravels quite earnestly and we are treated with scenes of Manny’s earlier fights when he was just a scrappy teenager fighting grown men on the now defunct “Blow by Blow” television series.

Then it navigates between his championship exploits to flashbacks of his humble beginnings.

A scene that struck me the most was Manny trying to locate where the rundown nipa house that sheltered the entire Pacquiao brood was- in its place now is a cluster of young coconut trees, with no trace whatsoever of the dwelling place that was once called home by the greatest Filipino fighter ever.

Manny is usual boyish self, shrugging nonchalantly with his natural charm that his house is “no more”.

SCENES. Even for hard core Manny fans, the film contains rare footage of scenes you normally don’t come across. One is a Manny transacting with his then manager Rod Nazario and one time promoter Murad Muhammad.

With Murad counting the money, you see Manny on the background seated on a chair a few feet away staring hard. His eyes are ablaze with anger. No words are needed, actually. Truly, a scene worth a thousand words.

Another interesting footage is of Manny as the preacher, on stage. Again, he exudes his affable charm when he waxes eloquent about his faith and how he has changed his ways.

You see the audience mesmerized, nodding their heads in assent. Truly, to the Pinoy fans, Manny has become so much more than a fighter. He’s a hero whose every word they cling to and derive inspiration from.

Of course, as a boxing fan, I was more interested in the fight scenes and you get a lot of it in this film.

All his major fights are featured, and there is no subtlety at all about the knockout scenes. After all, this is a Hollywood movie and Hollywood is all about creating an impact. You get that a lot and more.

I noticed though that his fights with Joshua Clottey and Shane Mosely were omitted. I can only assume that this is in keeping with making the action as lively and as vivid as possible. After all, if you’re a boxing fan, you must know that the Clottey and Mosely fights were snoozers.

To be honest, with so many documentaries about Manny through the years, at the onset I wasn’t really psyched up about watching the film.

I thought I had probably read, seen and heard all I could about our Pambansang Kamao. I had to plead and cajole with the wifey to watch it with me.

But the film destroyed some of my pre-conceived notions and I ended up liking it and so did the wifey.

On a personal note, I think Liam Neeson too is a great narrator, but the film would have benefited more from Morgan Freeman’s deep, somber drawl that always seems to add depth to the subject at hand.

LAST ROUNDS. Are on my high school buddies- Dennis Alcarez who recently celebrated his birthday and Francis Nino Yap who’s back in town after 17 long years. Give my best to Evander Holyfield bro, when you get back to Atlanta, Georgia. Cheers!


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 19, 2014.


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