Deeply absorbing emotional trip 5/5 stars Ali's jogging sequence in Afria will stab you in the heart with its emotionally wrenching revelation (by baysidetidal)
There are many critics out there who have given this film negative reviews on the basis that the film didn't succeed in giving the viewers a focused look at how significant and grand Ali was. I understand completely the motivations and arguments behind those negative reviews. However, I must say they misunderstood what the movie was trying to do. Because most thought Ali would be a standard bio-pic, the film was expected to cover a sprawling canvas of a larger-than-life figure of charisma known as Ali from childhood to present with deft focus on his life. This was NOT director Michael <more>
Mann's goal. Mann's ultimate objective, in my humble opinion, was to create an intimate portrait of a man whom the public saw only as a cultural icon. To give him a soul behind that grand persona. To reveal him as a fellow man among men; how he lived, how he behaved in his personal life, how he sat, how he looked, how he talked, every little insignificant moments of his life in the film were there to give the public an idea, a glimpse of him as a fellow human being and not as an icon or a symbol. That is why the movie was an absolute masterpiece. Although Will Smith's performance in the film was hypnotically amazing, I must say the real star of the movie for me was Michael Mann. From the first 10 minutes or so of the montage sequence in the beginning of the movie, Mann absorbed me right in with his achingly beautiful, intimate, and minimalistic photography and compositions. I still see the imagery in my head going on a loop and forcing me to play back the memorable images my eyes were exposed to as if they were photographic printing paper. The movie was so beautiful and poignant, I found myself weeping during the many moments of introspective scenes with Ali looking on towards the horizon or vacantly into nothingness as if internally struggling to find his identity. Before I stop myself in rambling on and on about how much I'm in love with this film and Michael Mann's directing style, I should note that there is a sequence in the movie where you won't resist in emotionally breaking down. The sequence in question is the jogging sequence in Africa where Ali runs past non-chalantly through a village and looks at children's murals on concrete walls of himself. I WILL NOT spoil this because I want you viewers to go through the same shock that I had.
The fights are not rocky-type or "entertaining" but REAL. Inside the boxing ring, things are different. I was glad to see close to perfect adaptation of Ali's fights I watched documentary on Ali's career . Michael Mann gets credit for painting all the different aspects of Ali's life superbly. Well, 'Ali' is based on a real legend and not a super-hero and so it is hell of a job to portray such a personality on big screen and make it so entertaining to watch.The only downside of the movie was to focus a little longer on effect of Africa on him. But the "Loud <more>
mouth" CHAMPs witty and "punchy" remarks in his real life along, with his big blows inside the ring, will keep you glued for more.Overall, Will Smith's hard-work, Mann's adaptation and Mohammad Ali's legendary life makes 'Ali' a must watch for movie goers.
The Biggest Modern Day Character Challenge I can imagine... (by wise49)
Some people never liked Ali. He is one of those characters who is so strong, most people are forced to either love him despite his weaknesses or hate him. He was one figure in American history who never really needed anybody. He was a conscientious objector against the Viet Nam war, yet he is honored by presidents of the nation he refused to capitulate with in crimes against humanity. His story is that vital to America. When Ali was still a teenager, he tried his best to prove his personal excellence in a society prejudiced against black people. He won the boxing gold medal at the Rome <more>
Olympics in 1960, yet he came home to Louisville and still wasn't "good enough" buy a sandwich at a white restaurant, because he was black. He then decided if the gold medal wasn't good enough for America, then it wasn't good enough for him. At this point in his life, when he had nothing else; he took the gold medal and threw it in the river. He observed the wrestler, Gorgeous George, and admired the way he used the negative energy generated by those who disapproved of him as fuel to become the top attraction and make fools of all those who were against him. He wanted to make people boo him. He proclaimed himself as more beautiful than any creature on the planet. He told the world he was the greatest who ever lived. The more they booed him, the more energy it gave him. He didn't have a mentor or a manager. He assembled a group of Louisville investors to bankroll him, all by himself. He knew exactly what he wanted from the world, reached out and took it. He made a crown out of it. Nobody gave him anything, and nobody can ever take that away. He discarded the name of a great white civil rights leader during the civil war and reasoned that if he was really free to be what HE was, then he should take a name that he thought was a natural black person's name. It didn't make sense for others who came before him to fight and win the rights to do whatever they wanted, if they were then going to do nothing but turn around and say "Thank You". He decided in order to validate the fight for freedom, his role was to be free. Muhammad Ali is played by the maybe the only person in the universe who would dare to even attempt it and he succeeds marvelously; not just in a marginal way, but in a big, big way.This film isn't just swagger, or an imitation of Ali. This is a deep, sensitive, poignant, and romantic story about one of the greatest public figures of the twentieth century. This man truly is a poet and he's lived the life of a poet. To a great extent, Muhammad Ali made his life a manifesto of truth about the American experience. Of all the stories of the twentieth century in America, this was one of the most important ones to tell. This film has characters galore: from Jamie Foxx as Bundini Brown, who keeps chanting "float like a butterfly, sting like a beeee!" when everyone in the world thought Ali was going to die at the hands of Sonny Liston; Jada PinkettSmith as Ali's devoutly religious and adoring first wife; MichaelMichele playing Veronica Porche, a beautiful jet set model with whomAli had an affair, to a strong performance by Mario Van Peebles as Ali's conscience; Malcolm X, who forces Ali to think against himself and his adoring Black Muslim following in the interests of right and wrong.This film has irony, choreography, conflict, humor, drama; and accurately portrays the highest highs of any public figure I've seen in my lifetime, as well as some of the most bitter defeats.This is about male psychology. This is about female psychology. This is about a religious movement in America. This is about a culture in America and many cultures in America and their struggles to live together and treat each other right and fairly, while trying to do the right thing as concerns their own conscience.The most glaring weaknesses of any sports film ever made are in the sport scenes themselves. This is the strongest point of this film and also makes it the greatest sports film ever made.I've been a boxing fan since I was eleven. I was a part of crowds who gathered around Muhammad Ali before he became champion. I know what he looks like face to face. I've watched his boxing films dozens of times, and I'll tell you that the scenes in this movie are perfect reenactments of what actually happened in the ring. This couldn't have been done in less than dozens of takes per scene. They throw punches exactly like the fighters in the real fights. They're in the same part of the ring when they throw those punches. They react to the punches the same way. They even get knocked down in the correct parts of the ring in exactly the same way as the fighters who were in the original fight.I'm not going to comment on whether it should have won an Oscar for best picture, best actor, best supporting actor, best direction, best photography, best choreography, or other features in the film. Maybe it's better that it didn't win those awards in that year because this film is bigger than any year.This is the sports film that all others will be judged by from here on out by anyone with any sense of realism and art in movies.This is one for the ages.
Well, if you went to Ali to see an boxing movie you might have been disappointed, but if you went to see a great film you hit the mark. The hype was due. A conglomerate of great acting, great direction, and a great story has made Ali a landmark film. This film is socially important because it raises up one of the most notable and underappreciated figures of the twentieth century, Ali. Many considered Ali just a boxer with a big mouth, but this film finally exposes him for what he truly was, one of the greatest civil rights leaders of our time. The film makes subtle but amazingly-done <more>
comparisons between Ali and other civil rights leaders, notably Malcolm X, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and highlites Ali's influence with theirs. This theme is climaxed in the beautiful scene of Ali Will Smith running down streets in Africa with local chidren chanting his name. At this moment in the film, we understand as viewers that Ali did not fight for fame or fortune, but he fought for his rights and the rights of all black people in the United States and the world. No other film has exhalted Ali's influence in such a way. It was beautifully done. Ali will become one of my favorite films of all time, and I believe will be remembered years from now as the crowning achievement of both the main actor and the director. I applaud their efforts
Meet the man behind the gloves and the poetry (by mstomaso)
Muhammad Ali is a heroic character with legendary wit, humanity, and boxing skill. Always a fighter and always a lover, Ali's life is a subtle and clever story of dignity, strength, and compassion. And Ali himself wrote that story. This film profoundly reminds me of an autobiography Ali wrote several years ago with the help of a friend. Never afraid to do what needed to be done to get where he wanted to go, Ali was never a stranger to controversy, flambuoyance, acid wit, and an outspoken promotion of truth - even when most of his own fans couldn't see it. This film captures the <more>
champ's many battles, not the least of which are the internal battles he wages with himself over politics, his ego, money and his own destructive patterns in relationships with women. But thankfully, it does so in a respectful way which does not compromise the man's heroism, nor does it spare the audience of the laughter, mischief and joy Ali became so well known for. Michael Mann's film has relatively little boxing in it, and is in no way a chronicle of Ali's career. A better choice for that subject is "The Greatest" - http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076111/combined starring Ali himself, or one of the many documentaries on Ali. This film is about how and why Ali is who he is, and how he drove himself and everybody around him to reach phenomenal heights. It features the beginnings of Ali's career and follows him through the most difficult part of his career, when he fought the US government over the Viet Nam war, fought his own religious establishment over his outspokenness, and even fought against hypocritical promoters he relied on who were bent on exploiting the third world. Too intelligent to just be a prize fighter, too passionate to just shut up, and too faithful to give up his religion when it gave up on him, Ali just kept on driving. The film ends after Ali's fight against George Foreman in 1977, so it does not cover his entire career, and does not discuss his more recent activities. His life since retiring from boxing is equally interesting, in my opinion, but since Mann wanted to depict the most dramatic and challenging aspects of the Ali legend, I can't blame him for his choice of time frame.The cast is very strong. Will Smith gives a fine performance wonderfully recasting Ali's wonderful facial expressions, gestures, physical style and speech pattern, Jamie Foxx, Ron Silver and Mario Van Peebles are all excellent in their supporting roles. And the boxers are all very believable. They even look like the people they play. Smith doesn't really look anything like Ali, and you are occasionally aware mainly through Smith's imitation of the greatest's very unique speech that you are watching an imitation, but this does not in any way detract from the film.Highly recommended for those interested in real-life drama and heroism, the civil rights movement in the 1960s and 1970s, and the intelligent and political side of American sports. NOT recommended for fans of boxing movies and action films. This is a slow moving, intense drama and neither a feel-good film nor a slug-fest.
Will Smith Should Have Won The Oscar (by slightlymad22)
Plot In A Paragraph: Focusing on sports legend Mohammad Ali during the years 1964 to 1974.For this reviewer, Ali was overlooked and undervalued at the time of its release. As despite Will Smith's star power, the movie didn't hit the $100 million mark at the box office, a rarity for a Smith lead movie in those days!! As even Wild Wild West crosses the $100 million barrier and despite two Oscar nominations, I feel it was ignored, and should have had more.THE FIRST 10 minutes of Ali are great!! Time hopping and covering a lot of ground all at once. Set to the vocal delight of Sam <more>
Cooke, we see Cassius Clay, Jr. taking a night time run being harassed by a pair of cops, then he's a child, walking toward the "coloreds only" section of a bus, then we cut back to Clay in the gym on the speed bag, then back to the child watching his father paint a blonde haired, blue eyes Jesus, before we get to the the weigh-in with Sonny Liston, where he delivers his "float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" line, dominating proceedings and sparring with reporter's. It is probably the best opening 20 minutes to any Mann directed movie. I think it was a wise decision to focus on the years the movie does as we see him become champ by defeating Liston, deepen his commitment to Islam, change his name from Cassius Clay to Mohammed Ali, lose the title by refusing induction into the army, and regain the title in the rumble in the jungle against George Forman.As a sports biopic, it's light on action, and it actually devoted as much time if not more on what happens before and after the fights, as what it does on the fights. It's not a feel good flick either, the movie doesn't fall into a lot of the trappings of this type of movie, and at times, it's not afraid of showing Ali in an unflattering light. His troubled relationships with his wives, father and his struggles with the Muslim community are all covered in detail. Which could explain its lack of success at the box office upon release.Will Smith is amazing here!! In Mann, he found a director who could finally help him deliver a performance nobody thought he had in him. Surprisingly the movie doesn't play to Smith's strong suits, such as his comic timing or his fast talking, quick with a one liner persona, that wasn't so different from Ali's. Instead we get a thoughtful, dialled in dramatic performance that I think should have won him the Oscar that year. I totally forge I'm watching Smith, and all I see is Ali. For me it seems the bigger the star, the better the performance Mann seems to get. The full movie is ridiculously well cast. Jon Voight, an actor I adore, and was also nominated, and again I think should have won or his performance as Howard Cosell. Jamie Foxx, Ron Silver and Jeffrey Wright It's not perfect, it could use a bit of editing to sort out some pacing issues, things such as the whole Malcolm X Mario Van Peebles and Martin Luthor King LeVar Burton subplots could have gone. Some bits seem drawn out, whilst others seem rushed over. Like when he goes for a morning run in Zaire, it feels like he is running longer than Forest Gump did!! Ali grossed $58 million to end the year the 41st highest grossing movie of 2001.I'd rate the movie an 8/10, but I'm giving an extra point for Smith's performance.
What an amazing film I really don't know where to start or finish with this one. But what we already know is Mohammed Ali was a true sports legend. The film showed all highs and lows and the real points of his career. A real watch for any film lover and one of the greatest films of 2001. You have an amazing actor none other than Will Smith who fits the role perfectly. A great fast telling story that stings like a bee and along with it some of the greatest scene in a film that contains boxing. The small soundtrack might be limited but fits the film greatly. If any film derserve an award <more>
back in 2001 then this one did with amazing amount of wins you can see why this was such a great film about the legend. There really not much more to say it highlights the situations Ali faced in his younger years right down where he proved just how great of a fighting legend he truly was and why he was such a legend to a genration in the present days. He did what any man would do and fighted not just America but to rank as the top man.
"I ain't got to be what nobody else want me to be, and I ain't afraid to be what I want to be..." (by classicsoncall)
My youth and young adulthood coincided with Muhammad Ali's rise to the Heavyweight Championship, and I followed his bouts whenever they were shown on TV. Thankfully it was a time before routine fifty dollar pay per view cable events. However even though Ali's name had become a household word, I didn't know a lot about his private life, or the deeply held convictions that retreated behind the front page headlines. "Ali" does a nice job of chronicling the roughly ten year span between his first title win and the defeat of George Foreman after being stripped of the <more>
championship.Those who tune in and expect boxing to take center stage might be disappointed; many reviews on this forum express that. That might be missing the point of the film, as there are enough documentaries, interviews and fight films to pursue if that's what one is looking for. Director Michael Mann instead concentrates on Ali's Nation of Islam connection, his friendship with Malcolm X, the shattering of his ties with Elijah Muhammad, and ultimately the loss of the world title as a result of his refusal to be drafted. Besides presenting a sports hero, the film presents a human being showing the world that it's important to live by one's principles.I was intrigued by the almost symbiotic relationship revealed by the story between Ali and legendary sportscaster Howard Cosell Jon Voight in a take notice role . If you caught their famous verbal battles back in the day, you would swear they were mortal enemies, yet even though they seemed to enjoy taking shots at each other, the scene during the Wide World of Sports segment showed just how loyal Cosell was to the Champ. It was also interesting to watch Ali's defense of trainer Angelo Dundee Ron Silver during a pre fight briefing with promoter Don King; it showed that Ali wasn't a big fan of King.The biggest surprise of the story for me - Joe Frazier agrees to defend the title against Ali as the two men meet privately, with not a manager, promoter or lawyer in sight. Just two men agreeing to get it done, with a lot at stake for both winner and loser.The most inspirational moment, aside from actually winning the championship, is the training run in Kinshasa, Zaire, as the locals turn out to celebrate a hero. One wonders what had to be going through Ali's mind as he witnessed that turnout, it appeared incredibly moving on film.Undoubtedly, this was Will Smith's career role, and he pulled it off convincingly. He managed to capture the essence of the boxer and the man, earning the real Muhammad Ali's respect in the process, and what could be better than that.
One of Will Smiths Finest Performances, (by lesleyharris30)
Ali is a brilliant movie with a very well written and well developed storyline with an outstanding cast.Will Smith does a fantastic job portraying boxing legend Muhammed Ali and was without a doubt perfect casting,I honestly didn't think a character like this would suit him,even though he is without a doubt one of my favourite actors of all time,I just thought his personality didn't seem like one that could pull off playing Muhammed Ali,but I was wrong,I should never have doubted him,he clearly studied this mans history and really became him,it is really hard to believe watching this <more>
movie that that is actually Will Smith.I was also concerned that there would be too many fight scenes and not enough story development,but that also was not a problem,there were several fight scenes,but they were put in at very necessary times and were great while they lasted.Ali is a fantastic movie tad to would recommend to all fans of Will Smith and biography films.Biography of the famous boxing champion Muhammed Ali Will Smith as we look at the early beginnings of his career,forward to his rising popularity.Best Performance: Will Smith Worst Performance: Mykelti Williamson