Follow the life and times of Muhammad Ali as he transforms from the fighter known as Cassius Clay into the greatest champion that has ever lived. The film begins as Clay has just been awarded his chance to win the title and become “The People’s Champion”. Mixed in with his fight for his title, he must battle his womanizing, friends, family, and even his own government.
On several fronts, the movie was very well done. The imagery and photography looked fantastic. This helped the movie tell much of its story with visual cues rather than dialogue. Even the soundtrack is matched to the imagery to set the mood and tone. With the movie being set in very specific period of time, it looks authentic. One of the best acting performances has to go to Jon Voight. I watched the entire movie with an eery feeling that I should know who was playing the role of Howard Cosell only to be shocked that it was Voight. Another point I will commend the film on was limiting its scope. Many times film-makers try to cover and entire person’s life inside of one two to three hour film and wind up watering the story down to nothing with any flavor. This film managed to keep its focus on Ali’s year at the top of his profession.
However, the movie did fault in several areas. The movie failed to carry itself too much if any dramatic moments of consequence. Long periods of time were filled with beautiful visuals that ultimately brought nothing to the story being told. Unfortunately, I do have to count Will Smith’s performance as a low point as well. Although I don’t completely fault him since it must be difficult to try to portray such a well-known figure.
The story of one of the century’s most memorable figures, at least in sports if not in his life, should have carried more drama and feeling that this movie was capable of pulling off. In the end it felt more like I was watching a documentary than a movie. The story could have been told in a more entertaining manner and still been as true to man it was about.
Paul Novak is a self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing in the west side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet. Found over at What’s Your Tag? and on the Twitter @dudewantshisrug. Game on with Team XBRO!