An Uplifting Story
Back in his heyday, Chien-Ming Wang was one of the brightest prospects in Major League Baseball. When a bad injury sidelined him from playing for the Yankees, what followed was a long, arduous journey back to the top.
Everybody loves a good comeback story and Chien-Ming Wang personifies this perfectly. After pitching for the Yankees, Wang suffered a foot injury that sidelined him from the rest of the season, followed up by a subsequent shoulder problem that only further exacerbated his issues. Fighting back from the independent and minor leagues, Late Life showcases the trials and tribulations of this prolific Taiwanese pitcher as he tries to make it back into the MLB.
Sport injuries are, from my own experience, one of the most frustrating and mentally taxing injuries you can have. Your brain is focused and prepared but every inch of your body is screaming out in pain and refusing to let you do what you know you’re capable of. Having been sidelined from running for a year with a nasty knee problem, it took me a long time to return to full fitness and even now, I still get anxious, thinking the problem will flare up again. I can only imagine the stress and mental pressure put on sport stars playing at the top level having to start again from the ground up.
Given this is a documentary about baseball, Late Life doesn’t simplify or hold back on its terminology. Some of the slang terms and specific baseball references like sinking, pitching, strikes and runs may be lost on some people who have never followed the sport before. It’s not enough to detract from the documentary but some of the explanatory text detailing his strike rate and success with it when he returned is impacted by this.
Despite this, the editing and chunks of informative text do help paint a picture of the length of time Chien-Ming was out for, battling his injuries. On top of that, this documentary collates together archival footage of baseball games with face to face interviews and narration from Chien-Ming himself to add some variety to proceedings.
Late Life is an inspirational, beautifully written tale about battling back from a career threatening injury. It may not be the best documentary in this category but it is a well told tale with plenty of emotion. If you’re in the mood for something uplifting and heartwarming, you can’t go wrong with this one.
Verdict - 8/10