Critic Reviews



Based on 39 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
Rolling Stone
Ali is a bruiser, unwieldy in length and ambition. But Mann and Smith deliver this powerhouse with the urgency of a champ's left hook.
Baltimore Sun
It's one of the most ambitious biographical films ever made in this country, and one of the most unusual, moving and exciting.
The New Yorker
Michael Mann is a fluent, evocative filmmaker, and the movie is well written, expertly staged, and beautifully edited. [24 & 31 Dec 2001, p. 126]
Entertainment Weekly
For everything it gets right, Ali, following its superb first hour, begins to lose the vision, clarity, and structure necessary to bring its hero into full focus.
Connects so often and so persuasively that its shortcomings -- the movie goes slack from time to time -- really don't amount to much.
Boston Globe
Ali, in short, is far from a seamless success, but it does get the big things right and it respects a subject who commands respect.
Philadelphia Inquirer
While Smith gets into Ali's head and under his skin, the movie around him has more footwork than punch.
What keeps the movie from championship status is a sense that the filmmakers see Ali's social and political contributions as extra added attractions, ultimately less important than his greatness in the ring.
Manages to entertain, even though it stays on the surface. It fails to deliver the hoped-for knockout, but also avoids the pitfall of an early-round collapse. While not attaining the greatness of its subject, it rises to a level somewhere above mediocrity.
Just about everything Mann has chosen to present is valid, substantial and convincing, but by the end, the feeling persists that while certain essences have been grasped, only part of the story has been told.
Village Voice
Filled with vivid cameos and set to an infectious soul beat that effectively covers the underlying hum of calculated precision.
Portland Oregonian
For all Smith's dedication and Mann's abilities, Ali remains a figure too big for even the big screen to contain.
Ali is no disgrace, but it's not much of a performer, especially considering that it is one of the few hyped year-end releases that coulda been a contender.
New Times (L.A.)
Muhammad Ali's spirit, his life force, is not quite present here, despite Smith's astonishing mimicry and Mann's considerable perspiration.
Wall Street Journal
Ali nails its subject's anger and courage, but not his lilt; his swaggering boasts but not his sly self-irony; his power but not his grace; and his inner turmoil but not the outward joyousness that has made us come to love him.
New York Daily News
It was against all odds that Michael Mann ("The Insider") would make a boring movie focusing on the most eventful decade in the life of the most dynamic athlete in history. But that's what he has achieved with Ali.
We've seen Ali as the charismatic star of the real-time drama of his life. "Ali," for all its flashy filmmaking, just doesn't compare.

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