In 1964, a brash new pro boxer, fresh from his olympic gold medal victory, explodes on to the scene, Cassius Clay. Bold and outspoken, he cuts an entirely new image for African Americans in sport with his proud public self confidence with his unapologetic belief that he is the greatest boxer of all time. To his credit, he sets out to prove that with his highly agile and forceful style soon making him a formidable boxer who soon claims the heavyweight championship. His personal life is no less noteworthy with his allegiance to the Nation of Islam, his friendship with the controversial Malcolm X and his abandonment of his slave name in favour of Muhammad Ali stirring up controversy. Yet, at the top of his game, both Ali's personal and professional lives face the ultimate test with the military draft rules are changed, making him eligible for military induction during the Vietnam War. Despite the fact that he could easily agree to a sweetheart deal that would have meant an easy tour of ... Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <email@example.com>
Chicago's Northwest Armory, at 1551 North Kedzie Avenue, doubled as both New York's Audubon Ballroom backstage and Houston's induction center. The wall to the left as Malcolm X walks down the hallway moments before his death is the opposite side of the wall on the viewer's right when seeing Ali on the drill floor refusing induction. The wall at the end of the hallway and the door through which X walks were constructed for the film, as was the trim around the supply room doors along the side. Unusual for films, the travel through the induction sequence accurately depicts the same building's exterior and interior; the cars pull up in front of the armory on the Kedzie side, the actors walk through the Kedzie foyer, and onto the drill floor, consistent with the building's actual layout. The drill floor was also featured in the video for R. Kelly's 'I Believe I Can Fly'. See more »
When Cassius Clay is introduced to Nation of Islam founder, Elijah Mohammed, to be given the new name - Mohammed Ali - the Revox tape recorder on the table disappears between shots. See more »
Average movie. What was best in this film (and that was really good) was the Sound, The Soundtrack and the Camera. All of these where at least worthy of a nomination, if not more.
On the contrary, the screenplay was totally lacking (I think the Director knew this, hence the very frequent and prolonged musical interludes...) and the dialogs empty, somehow incomplete. In spite of another great performance by Will Smith, the characterization is also sketchy to say the least, we never really get to understand the main characters, their motivations, the reasons for their actions, and therefore can never really identify. All in all, the movie feels superficial, there is no real 'depth' to it. Younger audiences who are not familiar with the actual occurrences 30 years ago will be totally at a loss watching this film. I must say that even I was lost at times (and I actually lived during the period).
18 of 23 people found this review helpful.
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