PG Score: 7.25/10
Tony Parker: The Final Shot is available on Netflix
Much like the player it revolves around, Tony Parker: The Final Shot is methodical, balanced, and covers significant ground quickly and efficiently. This examination of his career is not the most comprehensive basketball documentary out there, but it supplies enough highlights and insight to effectively pay homage to the retired French superstar and NBA legend.
Tony Parker's illustrious body of work is spectacular on its own merits, but it is also twofold. In addition to garnering an extensive list of NBA achievements, he also changed the basketball landscape in France. Right from the tip-off, Director Florent Bodin solidifies the documentary’s overarching theme of the impact Parker’s contributions had and continue to have on the sport for the overseas community. Even during the portions devoted strictly to his play on American soil, the film ties it back to the French connection and in turn, accentuates just how far-reaching the former star’s achievements were.
The Final Shot features interviews with an assortment of Parker’s former teammates, coaches, friends, family members, and prominent journalists. Some are more interesting than others, but all of them provide either an alternate perspective on a pivotal point in his professional tenure or some level of deeper insight into the basketball sensation’s psyche.
The most notable segments are with his late rival, Kobe Bryant (whose memory the film is dedicated to), and his long-time coach while he was with the San Antonio Spurs, Gregg Popovich. The interviews with Bryant are especially absorbing as they offer a firsthand lens into the ultimate tier of competitiveness that the two hardwood heavyweights shared and the powerful bond that it formed. Bodin does an excellent job of spacing these scenes out to maximize their impression. The Popovich clips delve into the inner workings of one of the most successful player-coach relationships in sports history and present a rare look at a different side of the venerable guru.
Handling the Tougher Topics
Despite the brisk pacing, Bodin allots the proper amount of time to each section for the most part and wisely selects which events to include. The filmmaker’s decision to exclude Parker’s prior extramarital issues and tabloid gossip altogether benefits the production quality and keeps it from going off the rails.
Although the movie avoids off-the-court difficulties in his life, it does dig into some other obstacles he had to surmount. Its chronological approach also boosts the project as it makes for more fluid viewing than jumping back and forth on the timeline (a big exception is the Michael Jordan docuseries, The Last Dance, which executes the latter method flawlessly). By opening with Parker’s intensive introduction to his craft as a youth and working up to his retirement in 2019, The Final Shot picks a lane and drives smoothly to the basket.
Good, but Unfulfilled
The film certainly packs an inspirational punch and is therefore likely to resonate with a larger audience outside of basketball in addition to seasoned fans. Its accessibility is a double-edged sword in that hoop fanatics may be left wanting a more detailed dissection of Parker’s game and accolades. Still, what it lacks in thoroughness, it partially makes up for in emotional value. The brushstrokes Bodin uses to paint a picture of the future Hall of Famer evoke a welcomed and chill-inducing trance.
Tony Parker: The Final Shot is too much of an incomplete package to reach elite status among sports documentaries. However, Florent Bodin’s tribute to the world-renowned point guard fills enough of the stat sheet to be well worth a courtside seat.
PG Score: 7.25/10
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