Klitschko

On the heels of the turgid battling-brothers drama Warrior, Sebastian Dehnhardt’s flashily edited German documentary arrives, dramatizing the stranger-than-fiction real-life story of Ukrainian-born brothers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko, who as of this writing hold between them all of the four world heavyweight belts. Dehnhardt has a more challenging task than James Toback did with Tyson, for his subjects, drilled into adulthood by a disciplinarian military father, have none of Kid Dynamite’s fascinating capacity for self-dramatization, self-destruction, and self-pity—nor his powder-keg presence in the ring. (Trainer Emanuel Steward notes the surgical precision of “Dr. Steelhammer” Wladimir’s mature style.) There is a brief analysis of the brother’s contrasting stances, though not a great deal of undiluted ringside footage—Dehnhardt has instead an especial weakness for slo-mo shots of opponents’ faces being accordion’d on impact. Fight fans will still find much of interest, including some surreptitious footage of Don King unsuccessfully wooing the young brothers by “playing” Mozart on a player piano, and as queasily graphic an illustration of the cutman’s art as I have ever seen, from Vitali’s fight with Lennox Lewis.

 
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