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max schmeling, biographical film, biography, review, biopic

Max Schmeling (2010) 

Touted as Germany’s answer to Ed Wood, director Uwe Boll garnered his reputation as one of cinema’s worst filmmakers on the back of his video game adaptations. After previously scoring a Golden Raspberry nomination for Alone in the Dark and BloodRayne, he took out the prize in 2009 for his collective efforts on Tunnel Rats, In the Name of the King and Postal. So impressed were the judges, that they also bestowed on him the Golden Raspberry’s Worst Career Achievement award. Shortly afterwards Boll commenced filming on this biopic. Though fairly tame when compared to some of his more outlandish work, Max Schmeling nevertheless maintains the director's usual standard of quality.  

After surviving a World War II skirmish, former boxer Schmeling is tasked with escorting a captured soldier for further interrogation. Fortunately, the prisoner happens to be a boxing fan, so Schmeling passes the time by telling him his life story. Starting with becoming World Heavyweight Champion, Schmeling recounts his bouts in the ring, marriage to Czech actress Anny Ondra and battles against the authorities. Though heralded by the Nazi’s as an example of German superiority, they vehemently disapprove of the boxer’s loyalty to his Jewish manager. When he loses to Joe Louis (the Brown Bomber), Schmeling is considered an embarrassment and drafted into the army.   

Somewhat of a boxing aficionado himself, Boll selected former Light Heavyweight Champion Henry Maske to make his feature film debut in the title role. To be fair, Maske certainly looks the part, and possesses an undeniable charm… until he opens his mouth, at which point his lack of acting experience is frightfully exposed. Surprisingly, things don’t get much better in the ring. Though Schmeling was one of boxing’s hardest punchers, the clumsily choreographed recreations look like tap fests, a situation not helped by Maske, a natural southpaw, trying to box with the orthodox stance of Schmeling.

Like many of Boll’s films the production values are high, but in the hands of this director  its simply a case of having all the gear, but no idea.

Henry Maske, Max Schmeling, Susanne Wuest, Anny Ondra
fact check, fact vs fiction, inaccuracies, true story

Biopic gives the false impression that Schmeling became Heavyweight Champion after defeating Joe Louis.

Contains a scene in which Max gives Anny tickets to his bout on the 2nd August 1930 with a boxer named Heller. No such bout took place.

Biopic depicts Schmeling quitting his last fight and then announcing his retirement in the ring. The fight actually went the full distance, with Schmeling losing each of the 10 rounds. He announced his retirement in the dressing room afterwards.

Yoan Pablo Hernández, Joe Louis, Alain Blazevic, Karel Lamac
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