It’s an extremely historical movie. The fight scenes are spot on with the action of the real fights. Just for curiosity’s sake, I pulled up the fight first fight of the movie, Cassius Clay vs. Sonny Liston 1. It seems at times like they took the exact movements and punches of the fight and put them into the movie. That may seem easy, but the choreographers on the fight must have had quite a time doing that. I checked a couple of the other fights, and it seems like they all had that attention to detail. I also enjoyed how the camera angle moved around during the fights, just like a fighter would.
After the first fight though, they start to seem rushed. It was almost like they were so busy trying to get back to the story of who Ali was outside of the ring that they didn’t want to focus on him in the ring. But that is like describing a penny and only saying that Lincoln is on it. There is so much more to him, and you can find that out by watching him in the ring.
However, the fights are the highlight of the movie, and little else is worth watching besides Smith. He’s excellent, portraying the exact tone and delivery that Ali so often had. You can tell that Smith either spent a lot of time practicing, or had grown up idolizing “The Greatest” (most likely, it’s both). But despite this performance, which got an Oscar nomination, the movie just isn’t very good. It’s slow
When historical biopics are done right, they can be entertaining. Ali was such a polarizing figure because he was so entertaining. The scenes where Smith is given free reign to run with dialogue, he excels greatly. But following Ali around with a camera doesn’t make a good movie. There’s little tension between other characters, even at tense moments (like the showdown with Jamie Foxx). This was the heavyweight champion of the world, with one of the biggest mouths on an athlete that sports has ever given us.
I’m pretty sad that I was so disappointed by this movie. Since Hollywood eventually reboots everything, I’m sure they will try to capitalize on the death of a great man and make a some money.
I can’t give this better than a “D+”.
For more on this film, check out IMDB.
"All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy"