Good movie and terrific acting by Will Smith as Muhammad Ali, he really deserved his 2002 nomination for best actor oscar. They story to me was very different and religious and tedious and wasn't that interesting as I would have like it to be but it was decent enough. The supporting cast wasn't so supportive I think that was key for this movie's road to greatness. I love sport films including boxing one's but this one didn't really capture my full attention and love. Boxing fights were pretty good I gotta admit.
In 1964, a brash new pro boxer, fresh from his olympic gold medal victory, explodes on to the scene, Cassius Clay. Bold and outspoken, he cuts an entirely new image for African Americans in sport with his proud public self confidence with his unapologetic belief that he is the greatest boxer of all time. To his credit, he sets out to prove that with his highly agile and forceful style soon making him a formidable boxer who soon claims the heavyweight championship. His personal life is no less noteworthy with his allegiance to the Nation of Islam, his friendship with the controversial Malcolm X and his abandonment of his slave name in favour of Muhammad Ali stirring up controversy. Yet, at the top of his game, both Ali's personal and professional lives face the ultimate test with the military draft rules are changed, making him eligible for military induction during the Vietnam War. Despite the fact that he could easily agree to a sweetheart deal that would have meant an easy tour of duty for himself, Ali refuses to submit on principle to cooperate in an unjust war for a racist nation that treated his people so poorly. The cost of that stand is high as he finds himself unable to legally box in his own country while his case is contested in court. What follows is a battle for a man who would sacrifice so much for what he believes in and a comeback that would cement his legend as one of the great sports figures of all time.
That's especially true here. This is a decent film, and I like it (hence the marginal recommendation), but he tries to do a whole lot, yet nothing ever really feels completely fleshed out. That's a bit of an issue with a 155 minute running time. Many of the plot points here cpould have been told in their own single film. What this film basically amounts to is a vivid yet aloof biographical sketch of an important American figure during an important time in his life, during the history of the country.
The first third of the film may be really boring and tedious for many to get through, especially if they have little to no prior knowledge of the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X or the dynamics of the social issues of the time. Also, I didn't think it was wholly necessary to reenact the assassination of Malcom X (well done though it was) when it was already done by Spike Lee over a decade earlier.
The movie gives insights into Ali's life, but in the end, many questions still remain. It's an interesting portrait, and Ithe cast is great (and give some strong performances), but I think that ,as is, this film doesn't do the justice to the story that it could or should have. For instance, I would have liked to have known more about the relationship between Ali and his white trainer, especially when Ali was at his most militant. Also, it would have been nice had dates been given so the audience would have a better idea of when some of these events took place.
This might be Mann's weakest film (that I've seen), but it is still entertaining despite the flaws. It is well shot, the fights (and other sequences) are done well, and Smith is the best possible pick for the lead. Maybe if there was a commentary track some insight could be given, and some confusion could be cleared up.
Unfortunately this film is more of a documentary than a blockbuster. While the fights themselves are well filmed and exciting, they are not and could not be as live up to the actual real life events and herein lies this films downfall. Will Smith does his best to play Mohammed Ali but its difficult to add anything to a character that was so outspoken and animated anyway, let alone the fact that he is probably more well known than Will Smith. The finale to this film is the Rumble in the Jungle, a fight between the then World Champion George Foreman and the underdog, an aging Ali. This fight attempts to build suspence for a shock finale but anyone who knows boxing (and lets face it, if you are watching a boxing film you probably do) alraedy knows the outcome.
Well filmed with good acting but ultimately this film was too long, too slow and could never surpass the events of real life for entertainment value.
"Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee His hands can't hit what his eyes can't see. "
I rented "Ali" after hearing all the praise that it's received from the start, even though I'm usually not a fan of biographical movies. During and after watching the movie, I had feelings that resided on both sides of the spectrum. The movie lasts about two and a half hours. During those two and a half hours, the movie is entertaining and it may even show you some things you didn't know about Muhammad Ali (I learned some new things). On top of all that, Will Smith does a really good job of portraying Muhammad Ali's old personality (harsh sense of humor, saying anything and everything he wants, etc.), while also fighting like the classic boxer (yep, you'll even see the famous shuffling of the feet).
However, when the movie was over, it left me disappointed. One, it mainly just shows the things that Muhammad Ali went through during parts of his boxing career. What did Cassius Clay grow up doing? What were his parents and siblings like? How has he adjusted to life after getting Parkinson's disease? And the list could go on and on for several more lines. On top of that, it's not even comprehensive when it comes to his boxing career; it doesn't even mention many fights such as those against Larry Holmes.
Pretty much, the movie ends all of a sudden and it will leave you asking many questions. It's a prime example of a film with a MAJOR cliffhanger involved. But like I said, it is a good movie and it's entertaining while it lasts. If you're a boxing or Muhammad Ali fan, I would recommend renting "Ali" before buying it. NOTE: That was my Amazon review from the year 2002. Easily Will Smith's worst movie, and does no justice to the all time great boxer.
At two and a half hours long, it is incredibly drawn out.
(Ill write a proper reivew later)