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Overall Rating

Awesome: 9.78%
Worth A Look: 21.74%
Just Average31.52%
Pretty Crappy: 26.09%
Sucks: 10.87%

7 reviews, 50 user ratings

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by Dust For Eyes

"Better than any floating butterflies or stinging bees"
4 stars

Wil Smith, gets a rare acting workout in his portrayal of one of the athletes of the 20th century in Ali. During the hot-blooded history of the late 60s and early 70s, Smith and Michael Mann consummately tell Mohamed Aliís personal story.

Joe Louis was a trailblazer for boxing. Not because he was a black man who became a world champion boxer in 1934. It was because of his defeat of boxer turned Nazi propaganda device Max Schmeling in 1937. With that bruise to Nazi pride, he became a hero to all Americans.

He was humble, promoted Americaís war effort in encouraging black men to enlist for WWII, and with his 25 defenses of his world title, was seen as the greatest.

Thirty years later, someone who benefited from, and was inspired by, what Louis did, was to challenge everything that Louis stood up for.

In the 10-year stretch that included Americaís involvement in the Viet Nam war, Mohammed Ali was at his most extraordinary in - and anywhere within earshot - of the ring. In these years the Kennedys, Dr. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Andy Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney were all murdered and Andy Warhol started an art movement that Valerie Solanas thought should have been murdered for starting. Woodstock, the Beatles came and went, the í68 riots, the moon landing and Watergate happened. It was probably at this time that Bill Lawry thought of his favourite catch phrase. Ali did his best to match the magnitude of these events - and succeeded.

Michael Mannís film tells of Aliís life during this time. From the young brash boxer who snatched the world title from Sonny Liston to the not so young, but just as brash comeback kingís regaining of the world title in 1974 as a 32-year-old. The intervening time was to prove extraordinary to say the very least.

The main point of this film is to show what Ali was like as a person and how he felt going through these ten years. Consequently, the film is not really a boxing film; the fight sequences are only really incidental to the main story. Of what there is of fighting the style is somewhere between the poetry of Raging Bull and the splatterfest that was Rocky. There are however some interesting and new film techniques to capture this fighting.

Aliís life and turmoil was working hand in hand with the life and turmoil of his country at the time. It provides the basis of an amazing story and is involving cinema.

Thankfully the film is not a mere worship piece of Ali. His weaknesses are shown such as having feelings of self doubt, his unfaithfulness with the women in his life, and his mental fight with the demands of his faith, family and country.

Smith is possessed by the spirit of the young Ali. This is Smith at nearly his best. He certainly wasnít this good in the Men In Black films. Yet it is Voight as Howard Cosell who impresses the most. You are watching the film for about an hour before you realise that it canít actually be the real Cosell. So completely does Voight nail the mannerisms of the famous melodramatic sportscaster that you are almost convinced that he is the outspoken commentator and famous supporter of Ali (as well as Tommie Smith and John Carlos - the í68 Olympic medallists who raised Black Panther gloved fists during their medal ceremony). Aliís relationship with Cosell was vitally important and Smith and Voight do a great job in portraying the mutual respect the two men had for each other.

Mannís direction has things looking as authentic as possible. Portions of the film look like documentary footage of the era and time is taken to act out famous poses and sayings of the charismatic athlete. Great filming and having things just looking glossy and beautiful are also goals of Mann. The colours in the film are beautiful.

With the beauty and authenticity of the visuals and the acting style it was a little disappointing to have the music of the film feel a little out of place and at times intrusive and annoying.

The portrayal of Don King was an interesting aside. The film makes clear Aliís opinion of the, ĎTalk black, live white, think greení Mr King. How on earth he has survived the industry is a mystery to me. So what if he can put on a good boxing night, the guy is a parasite.

With its high quality photography and excellent performances, Ali is a very accomplished effort. It provides a fitting tribute to this amazing athlete and person who helped contribute to an extraordinary time in history.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=5690&reviewer=166
originally posted: 02/19/02 21:11:10
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User Comments

6/29/18 The Champ Now heres a film that could do with a remake 3 stars
9/13/17 morris campbell will smiths best role 4 stars
2/06/06 Anthony A motion picture to remember forever 5 stars
1/29/06 WiseMan For true Ali Fans Only. It made me feel Powerfull though, if you got patience & Apriciation 5 stars
11/11/05 "K" Ali was & still is,a racist and LYING DEVIL.The movie FLOPPED,and deservedly so!! 1 stars
9/12/05 Total Crap Boring, dull movie. Waits too long for the fight with Foreman. For True Ali fans only. 2 stars
8/22/05 ES Too much with the politics, we wanted to see the fighting, the domination and the heart 1 stars
5/27/05 Weltner One-sided portrait of pathological lying hero of black racists,who's fights were fixed. 1 stars
12/27/04 mjoc Reaaly mundane and just boring. Except for Jon Voight 2 stars
8/28/04 amber it was the best movie ever i loved it 5 stars
7/14/04 Daveman Throws in all the sensationalism of Ali's career without giving us any unified message. 2 stars
4/19/04 ALI HBOUS Will Smith along with the score, are the best things about ALI 4 stars
3/22/04 john doesn't capture Ali at all! Smith is in over his head - watch WHEN WE WERE KINGS instead! 2 stars
1/20/04 tatum Scattershot bio almost anchored by Smith 3 stars
1/14/04 Samuel boring at times, but still a good movie 3 stars
11/23/03 brooklyntony I love the man...I hated the movie 1 stars
8/12/03 Pinkline Jones Mr Bean should have got the part 1 stars
7/13/03 Joesco Even as a non-boxing buff I thought this would be good - but it wasn't. 2 stars
6/18/03 magus The greatest, purely cinematic, experience of 2002- I got goosebumps,you feel like ur there 5 stars
6/14/03 Jack Sommersby Maddeningly unfocused and uninvolving. Smith is painfully miscast. 2 stars
4/25/03 mr. Pink Boring. How could Mann have done this. It's even worse than Last of the Mohicans. 1 stars
4/08/03 Andrew Carden Jon Voight Was Amazing, but The Film Was Just Good. 4 stars
1/16/03 Goofy Maxwell Fights=intense, despite Will's lack of intensity. Lost him Oscar, but Ali's still a winner. 4 stars
10/20/02 Joey Joe Joe Junoir Shabanu havent seen the movie 3 stars
6/26/02 Phil M. Aficionado Weinberg's review makes all my points. A ho-hum slice of a larger and great story. 2 stars
5/22/02 natasha exceptional cast, especially Will Smith - he has the charisma to be Ali 5 stars
3/25/02 Jessica Davis (fan of Denzel Washington when he's good) Could've been poli.correct choosing Will instead of Denzel's worst role - ACADEMY EATS SHIT 5 stars
3/23/02 Natalie Stonecipher Amazing. As a non-fan of boxing, I never thought I could like a boxing movie so much. 5 stars
3/17/02 binda this movie was almost a tribute to muhammad ali, a job well done to will smith. 5 stars
3/14/02 Monster W. Kung Not exceptional, but definitely worth a look. 4 stars
2/26/02 Bueller Voight's Kosell make-up was laughable. Pretty good imitation at times. Smith was just Okay. 3 stars
1/31/02 rnmina unfortunately I totally agree with the reviewer, but I think Smith worked well 3 stars
1/12/02 Gay Tooth Fairy Will Smith is good, but not in this movie. He is chunky. I thought Ali was ripped. 1 stars
1/10/02 neo Mann's thumping atmosphere and Smith's performance will truly rock you... 5 stars
1/09/02 malcolm very good, not much new though 4 stars
1/07/02 The Boy In The Designer Bubble Gawd! Rappers in movies! How about Snoop Dogg as Martin Luther King. Stop the insanity! 1 stars
1/04/02 G-Man Another movie crappy movie about the White man keeping the black man down. 1 stars
1/02/02 Turtle Will Smith's perfomance is outstanding, but the movie suffers from a bit of bad direction. 4 stars
1/01/02 paul mann bit off more than he could chew. rent rumble in the jungle instead 3 stars
12/30/01 Marcel It was boring and sometimes I thought I was looking at 60's MTV 2 stars
12/30/01 Butterbean A movie that's misjudged by these "critics" and presents Ali's courage through tough times 4 stars
12/30/01 bumpkin Should have been a Spike Lee film. He did much better with Malcolm X in 3 hours. 3 stars
12/28/01 Too Bad Will Smith is buff but that doesnt save this weak movie. Weak story. Sucking of Ali's dick. 2 stars
12/27/01 Mr Math A big let down. Those who say When We Were Kings is superior are very right. 2 stars
12/27/01 Howard LeDet Movie seemed divided into 3 parts only one of which dealt w/Ali. 2 stars
12/26/01 Sal Gal See the real movie about Ali - when we were kings 3 stars
12/26/01 Todd Best boxing scenes ever, but the rest of the movie is dull as shit. 1 stars
12/22/01 Benjamin.Lesbian Don't waste your time, go see 'When we were Kings' intead 2 stars
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  25-Dec-2001 (R)
  DVD: 01-Jun-2004



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