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Jonah Lomu: Anger Within

The pleasing part about “Anger Within” is that it doesn’t try to hide the raw emotion . In two hours we get a small glimpse of Jonah Lomu. While it’s not entirely based on his bestselling autobiography, it certainly comes close to being a revised on screen annotation. Weaving in some archive footage-which includes the moment Jonah bulldozed Mike Catt and his days at Wesley College- it all comes together to present a documentary which presents a very talented rugby player, whose career was cruelly influenced by his Kidney problems.

The title which lends itself to the film is about the anger which Jonah harboured towards his father. As a youngster he would be the victim of abuse from his father when he had been drinking too much. His selfless mother, loyal and steadfast to protecting her children often received the worst beatings from her husband. What anger was stored inside young Jonah Lomu’s system would one day make him the most explosive player in world rugby.

Unlike his autobiography which quite candidly speaks about his illness and the stages he went through to combat it, the documentary focuses more on the younger days of Jonah Lomu. From memory, 90 minutes of film take the audience up to the 1995 world cup. After a quick barricade of interviews and recollection about drug testing, its straight into 1999 World Cup preparation mode. Then it’s onto his life around the Rugby World Cup time.

Director and editor need to be held accountable for the rather long winded and poorly edited documentary which “Anger Within” became. Like Stephanie Meyer’s “Twilight” films, large portions of excess could easily have been trimmed off.

However long winded it may feel at times, Jonah is someone who is very likable and the lagging moments are cancelled out by this. John Hart describes him well. “He was a very kind man” who “never asked to be treated differently.” Old teammates, agents, friends and family make appearances to talk about the different elements of Jonah. Although he carries many different hats, he essentially remained the same person.

And yes, there is plenty of old footage of Lomu at his most dangerous and dominant in many different shirts. Wesley College, NZ Sevens, the All Blacks, Auckland Blues, Hurricanes and Counties Manakau to name a few. Seeing such a giant going over, around or through people was just spectacular. Some pundits have said Julian Savea is the next Jonah Lomu. Not so. Savea is a more rounded player (as you’d have to be to play modern rugby). No rugby player will ever be as dangerous on attack in the way Lomu was.

As he raises a young family and continues fighting hard by doing 4-6 hours of dialysis every day, Lomu can be optimistic about the road which is ahead. The “Anger Within” is no longer there.

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