Family Bonds Resonate: The Good Son

Father-son relationship, bonds of family resonate in Ray Mancini documentary coming to Edmonton

"A visual masterpiece"

"The Good Son is bathed in beautifully shot, deep vibrant colours, reflecting the spirit of Lenny and Ray’s relationship – bold, bright, a vast spectrum of experiences. The musical score is low-key, contemplative, sombre at times, almost celestial at one point, again reflecting Ray’s personality and attitude towards life – big-family Italian, a devout Catholic, a genuine, vulnerable guy, a peacemaker with a blue-collar heart and a no-quit fighting spirit rooted in his ancestry.

Miller’s approach is straightforward and strong: chronological in presentation, anecdotal interviews with Ray, family, friends and followers of his career are woven together with fight footage, scrapbooks, highlights and low points. Transitions are almost invisible as Miller forges ahead smoothly, letting the blood-and-guts struggle of Ray’s life unfold.

Sugar Ray Leonard, Mickey Rourke, Ed O’Neill, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum and Kriegel are among those who cast insight, revealing Ray’s true character and his massive, iconic popularity during the late ’70s and early ’80s. Back then, Ray, a loving son who won the world title for his father and fought for the people of his home town, Youngstown, Ohio, was boxing. He was the total package: possessing boy-next-door good looks, a heartwarming familial story, humility, a burning desire and discipline to win, and lest we forget, a left hook to the body that could stop a cement truck dead in its tracks.

That was the Boom, Boom time – the big-time – for Ray; he had the sports world in the palms of his bruising hands. He rose in a flash, and every detail packed into the acceleration of greatness seemed to be in place. Unfortunately, it all stopped like a liver shot to the body when Ray took on South Korean Duk Koo Kim on Nov. 13, 1982, before a huge American TV audience in Las Vegas. Kim, who grew up fatherless in a dirt-poor slum, yearning for a family of his own, was a limited but unrelenting force in the ring. The fight against Ray was phone-booth warfare – they clobbered each other; each man, bleeding, banged-up, headed into the 14th round looking like hell. Seconds in, Ray launched a hard right that sent Kim flying. Shortly after Kim collapsed into a coma; he had suffered a subdural hematoma. Brain surgery did nothing to stem the damage; four days later he died. Left behind were his fiancée, Young Mee Lee, pregnant with their child Jiwan, and Kim’s mother Sun-Nyo Yang, who later committed suicide by ingesting a bottle of pesticide.

Shortly after the fight referee Richard Green was found dead from a single gunshot wound to the chest. Was it suicide? Details were sketchy at best; the family suspected a professional hit."

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