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This movie...well not so good. Ving Rhames is great as usual. Problem is he may be a tad old for the role, plus he didn't have much to work with here. A lot of what we know about Sonny was historically inaccurate or missing. No harassment from Ali(a young Cassius Clay) before, or after the Patterson rematch. Ali (Clay) made Liston's life hell for over a year before their first fight. No scene detailing Sonny slapping Ali's face in a casino. Not even a mention of his first fight against Marty Marshall. Liston suffered a broken jaw in the fourth round before losing a close 8-round decision. But you wouldn't know it from this film.Just pass on this film.
The movie has good intentions but comes up short
Sonny Liston was a guy who rarely caught a break in life, death and now in this uneven and mainly mediocre biopic. And like that life, this mediocrity is a tragedy for what it could have been, because Liston's was a more fascinating story than many of the other boxing champions about whom great movies were made. This low quality is nothing to do with the acting especially, Ving Rhames who nails the part of Sonny, getting wellthe puzzling mix the real man had of gangster and softie.
I suspect the problem lay in low budget that led to oversimplifying important passages in Liston's life. Nowhjere is this so evident as the back story of his suspicious death which is turned into mainly a simple act of jealousy. The malfeasance of the police investigation of the Bear's death is likewise compressed into a few closing minutes with flashed subtitles used instead of drama to convey what might have been going on. Likewise there is no exposition of the phantom punch" (in the rematch with Ali in 1965) which for reasons unclear the film-makers chose to use as a title.
If you want a much shorter but thought-provoking experience learning about this tragic figure, have a listen to Mark Knopfler's ballad about him and save your time watching this disappointment.
Interesting, well acted but something was missing. The mobsters were funny not nasty,
the women seemed to just be Hollywood add ons. But worth seeing.
A flick that never scored a big release likely due to its interesting yet overly solemn story and obscene content, Phantom Punch may please a select crowd of viewers yet lacks the appeal it was capable of. Another biography of a somewhat forgotten celebrity from years before who should be remembered as well as anyone, the film provides a thorough look at the life of the late boxer Sonny Liston. The film arguably has a great deal to offer. Yet, by its conclusion, some may feel they have learned more information than they would have cared to, given the unsettling results.
Filmed in Ontario, fans of Liston will get to know his personal life much better after an initial viewing and may even get more than they bargained for (or wished to know). Ving Rhames gives a decent performance as the legendary boxing champion and a watchable supporting cast (including Stacey Dash and Bridgette Wilson-Sampras added for good eye candy) make for an appropriate compromise for other areas in the film hard to watch (especially a rather unpleasant rape scene). Though some exciting boxing match scenes and stylish vintage atmosphere help the film in many ways, it ultimately leans to the unpleasant side of the main character a little too often and the questionable conclusion may be the dreariest part of all. The film as a whole will likely appeal to fans of the real Sonny Liston who has also been played by Michael Bentt, Marc Coddette, Steve Harris, Michael Anthony Williams and Roger E. Mosley in other films. But to get the best coverage of his specific story, this is your best choice, folks. Apparently due to lack of popularity, the film suffered some setbacks and was not released on TV or DVD until a few years after completion.
The true story of Sonny Liston will leave a sour taste in your mouth - cheap direction, laughable boxing action, poor acting (neither Ving Rhames nor Nicholas Turturro can carry a movie of this magnitude) and dialogue that doesn't quite fit the time period...he deserved so much better than this.
Not the best boxing flick, but interesting enough to keep watching.
If you love boxing watch this movie. Pretty good.
You will easily become attached to Rhames addaptation of Liston. Terrific movie