Ali Reviews

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Todd McCarthy
Variety
September 17, 2008
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David Ansen
Newsweek
March 31, 2008
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Geoff Andrew
Time Out
February 9, 2006
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
May 19, 2004
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Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
October 3, 2002
The film gives Ali his due by refusing to idealize him or to gloss over his failings.
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Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
January 22, 2002
Ali is a far more complex creature than this movie allows for.
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Rex Reed
New York Observer
January 9, 2002
It is well-intentioned, sketchy, sprawling and unremarkable. At two hours and 38 minutes, it is also long-winded and exhausting.
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Charles Taylor
Salon.com
January 8, 2002
This could be the only movie we'll get on the fighter, and it's just not good enough.
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Desson Thomson
Washington Post
January 6, 2002
It's the boxer you enjoy, not the sluggish 15 rounds the filmmakers put him through.
| Original Score: 3/5
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Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
January 3, 2002
It's good -- but Ali himself was the greatest. So a reluctant, kind of mild thumbs up for this.
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
December 29, 2001
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
December 28, 2001
Even though the movie is too long and suffers from an inconsistent tone, the narrative is compelling, as are the performances.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
December 27, 2001
Loaded with bravura filmmaking flourishes, and exceptional performances.
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Joel Siegel
ABCNEWS.COM
December 27, 2001
Will Smith's Muhammed Ali isn't an impersonation, it's a transformation. There is no narration to tell us the story, no treacly music cues to tell us when to cry. Some audiences might be disconcerted at being treated so intelligently.
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Susan Stark
Detroit News
December 26, 2001
Clearly a triumphant labor of love for its star, Will Smith. Credit director Mann, above all, for recognizing the performance for what it is: A knockout.
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Bob Graham
San Francisco Chronicle
December 26, 2001
If Michael Mann's new biopic of Muhammad Ali is not right up there with the gold standard of boxing biographies, Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro's Raging Bull, it misses by only a whisker.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Jay Carr
Boston Globe
December 26, 2001
Smith makes contact with enough of Ali's swagger, sweetness, wit, and pride to convince us that justice is being done to the boxing champion.
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Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
December 26, 2001
Very good and definitely worth seeing, if only to be reminded of the extraordinary life of one of the most extraordinary figures of the last half of the 20th century.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
December 25, 2001
Here Smith is not the gangly charmer beloved by his fans, but a solid mountain of a man.
| Original Score: 3/4
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Steven Rosen
Denver Post
December 25, 2001
It does connect solidly more often than not.
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Glenn Lovell
San Jose Mercury News
December 25, 2001
A joltin' powerhouse of a movie that deals more in fleeting impressions than pat answers.
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
December 25, 2001
It lacks much of the flash, fire and humor of Muhammad Ali and is shot more in the tone of a eulogy than a celebration.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
December 25, 2001
It captures the impact and the charisma.
| Original Score: 3/5
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J. Hoberman
Village Voice
December 25, 2001
Filled with vivid cameos and set to an infectious soul beat that effectively covers the underlying hum of calculated precision.
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Mike Clark
USA Today
December 25, 2001
Ali is no disgrace, but it's not much of a performer, especially considering that it is one of the few hyped year-end releases that coulda been a contender.
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Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
December 25, 2001
A movie that, at its best, is as brashly eloquent in cinematic expression as Ali was with his fists.
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
December 25, 2001
Smith ... demonstrates not only impressive boxing prowess ... but a maturity and subtlety that he's never before shown on screen.
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Jay Boyar
Orlando Sentinel
December 25, 2001
Mann ... makes a valiant attempt. And with the loose-limbed Will Smith in the title role, he gets surprisingly far.
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Gene Seymour
Newsday
December 25, 2001
The most impressive and persuasive rendering of a late-20th-century icon since Anthony Hopkins turned on that old Nixon charm in Oliver Stone's 1995 biopic.
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Elvis Mitchell
New York Times
December 25, 2001
Mann's first movie with feeling; his overwhelming love of its subject will turn audiences into exuberant, thrilled fight crowds.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Jonathan Foreman
New York Post
December 25, 2001
This overlong but sketchy biopic by Michael Mann, in which style repeatedly tramples substance, actually does the great man a disservice.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
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Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
December 25, 2001
Quite accomplished but finally distant.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
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Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
December 24, 2001
It's stirring to be reminded of what a glorious and galvanizing figure Ali was.
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
December 24, 2001
[Mann] manages to dissect the sport visually, transcending the brutality cliché to reveal how speed and power and courage combine with fatigue and desperation and fear.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
December 24, 2001
Intelligent, exquisitely acted though ultimately unengaging.
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Paul Tatara
CNN.com
December 24, 2001
If you have any interest at all in the subject, Ali is worth your time.
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Mark Caro
Chicago Tribune
December 24, 2001
We've seen Ali as the charismatic star of the real-time drama of his life. Ali, for all its flashy filmmaking, just doesn't compare.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
December 21, 2001
Mann and Smith deliver this powerhouse with the urgency of a champ's left hook.
| Original Score: 4.5/5
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
December 20, 2001
Dazzling, flawed, achingly ambitious.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Kirk Honeycutt
Hollywood Reporter
December 18, 2001
The movie reminds you of Muhammad Ali's boxing style -- elusive, showy, feigning this way and that, but always out of range.