Lionsgate // 2000 // 46 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // March 1st, 2011
He totally pushed Bryon Russell.
In this age of the NBA where teams are loading up on superstars, Lionsgate has a reminder of the fella that all these divas want to be like: Mike. Michael Jordan to the Max is a 45-minute documentary looking at Jordan's life and his rise to basketball godhood, set against the backdrop of the Bulls' 1998 championship run, capped with Jordan's legendary game-winning jumper over the perimeter defense.
It's brief documentary, especially when you consider the breadth of Jordan's career and influence, but credit to directors James Stern and Don Kempf: they hit all the highlights.
The feature begins with Jordan's early family life and his initial attempts to get onto his school basketball team, the failure of which has become the hackiest of anecdotes for many a sportscaster. Then it's rolling on toward his meteoric rise to superstardom in the NBA, with the guts of his pro ball footage devoted to tracking the Bulls' 1998 playoffs adventure.
Intercut with sequences from the games are interviews with his peers and coaches and stuff from Mike himself, as he sits on a chair in an empty gym talking about "heart" and "commitment" and so on and so forth. It's a bit hokey, but it adds a nice slice of intimacy to the proceedings.
My favorite moments are from the games. There are some gorgeous shots here, zoomed in and slowed down so you can soak up all the supernatural athleticism the greatest basketball player of all time put on display.
Even though I am diehard Knicks fan who spent his formative years watching MJ torture my team, I do agree he is the greatest ever. Obviously the filmmakers do as well and if there's a weak spot it's this: at times, the adulation comes across as too fawning. The guy's great, but to the Max ladles the cheese on thick.
On Blu-ray, the feature gets a nice boost. The rehabbed 1.85:1, 1080p widescreen transfer looks nice, the basketball sequences in particular popping. The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio is adequate, tasked with pushing out dialogue and the dramatic score accompanying Jordan doing his thing. Recycled extras: directors commentary, making-of documentary, a brief featurette on Jordan's "bullet time" promo dunk and some MJ stats.
Not Guilty. Let's not talk about the baseball stuff though, okay?
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Non-Anamorphic (1080i)
* DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (English)
Running Time: 46 Minutes
Release Year: 2000
MPAA Rating: Not Rated