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Index 393 reviews in total 

An athletic work of art.

Author: (skyc)
17 July 2002

As a World Class athlete, I can relate closely to the extremely well done segments of preparation and competetion, victory and defeat.

Mann and Smith certainly did put their hearts into this, because they were able to capture what it feels like to be the best in the world.

Im not sure how people can "fall asleep 3 times" during a film like this. Seems like people say they want to be "entertained" when they want to be passively involved, (or maybe just need to get more sleep at night0

This was visually and aurally beautiful, as much as it lacked any new information about Ali.

But hey!! Thats exactly what film is about..images and sounds. If you want new information, read a book!

Highly Recommended!

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skip it

5/10
Author: Julia from washington
16 July 2002

despite Will Smith's brilliant performance, this movie was a huge disapointment. I found it slow and boring and instead of being sad when it was over like I am with most movies, I was just relieved. In fact, I was constantly checking the clock while it was playing: only one more hour...only 45 more minutes. I do not reccomend this movie to anyone.

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"Ali"ke Malcolm X, The Hurricane, as an oppressed black flic

Author: jackdowns from Miami, Fla.
14 July 2002

This film is exactly what happens when you have a huge budget, lots of big names, and a blatantly obvious desire to win an Academy Award: a synthetic, insincere rip off of previous Academy Award nominees.

Let's face it. This has all been done before and better. The big historical scope, the politics, and the conspiracy thoeries surrounding Malcolm X were done better and in a less exploitative manner in Spike Lee's Malcolm X. And the "oppressed by the white man" boxer gimmick was hit on in The Hurricane just a couple of years ago. In fact, think of the first ten minutes of this picture with Ali training and reminiscing on his youth (oh no! Whitey oppresses me! I hate the system! Now I'm an angry black man! Look out boxing world!) and compare to the first ten minutes of The Hurricane. Same exact thing.

I could go into serious detail scene by scene but why bother? If you have any sense of cinematic memory you'll see how obvious it all is.

The fact is, that this picture is just a cheap vehicle for Will Smith to try to win an academy award. The Legend of Bagger Vance (aka Driving Matt Damon) was Smith trying to get the soft Uncle Tom style of Morgan Freeman in Driving Miss Daisy and this flick is a cheap effort to get the angry black man of Denzel in Malcolm X and The Hurricane. It's so obvious it's insulting.

And please, let's be honest: Will Smith does not look or sound like Muhammed Ali. He looks like Will Smith doing a cocktail party immitation of Ali. His performance is pathetic at best. The same crazy, over the top garbage you see in all of his pictures. Example:

Ali: I'm going to kick your ass! (to Joe Frazier)

Mike Lowry: I'm going to kick your ass! (to drug dealers in Bad Boys)

Agent J: I'm going to kick your ass! (to some three headed alien)

James West: I'm going to kick your ass! (in Wild, Wild West)

I'm glad Denzel won this year for Training Day, maybe not the best picture in the world but at least a sincere acting effort. And Washington is an actor not a marketing gimmick like Smith. I heard Will Smith left the awards for personal reasons before Best Actor was announced. I bet a million dollars he knew he'd lose for this piece of garbage and didn't want to look like a sucker before a national audience. He knows his staying power is limited. In a few years he'll fade like Eddie Murphy did, reduced to Dr. Doolittle and Nutty Professor pictures.

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Excellent

9/10
Author: Nadia from Sydney, Australia.
12 July 2002

I loved it. I thought it was a brilliant piece of film making and that it deserved every Oscar nomination that it got. Especially Will Smith for best actor. Very well deserved. Not only was it a completely different role from his usual ones, he had to play Mohammed Ali....that's as different as it gets. His expressions and his dialogue delivery were superb. The rest of the actors were well cast too. The direction was great and the story never bored for a minute. A great movie, well worth the time.

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Sounds to me like many of you weren't there...

Author: red95king from West Coast
12 July 2002

This was not an epic motion picture. And certainly some of the scenes between the boxing matches were boring, causing the film to drag. Some important elements are omitted from the story. Such as the second Frazier fight, what exactly influenced Ali to join Islam, and why he was broke after winning the heavy weight championship. Other elements were given undue importance, especially the intense focus on the prevailing civil rights battle during the period.

That being said, the boxing match re-enactments were very well done. Great effort went into creating much of what actually transpired in those fights. And Will Smith's performance duplicated Ali's manner of speech and body language exactly. The supporting cast was adequate.

Despite his flaws, Muhammad Ali was a folk hero. He single handedly turned the sport of boxing around. He backed up his talk by defeating stronger and more heavily favored opponents. The heavy weight division of professional boxing has been going down hill steadily ever since the Ali era ended. For boxing and/or Ali fans the movie is well worth viewing.

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good performances by Smith, and Voight

5/10
Author: crit200 from Vancouver BC
5 July 2002

The best thing about the movie was the performance by Will Smith as Ali, and Jon Voight did a wonderful job of playing Howard Cosell. I thought the film tended to drag, especially in the first part, it focused too much on Malcolm X. The last half of the film seemed to flow better, and was much more entertaining.

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Too long, drawn out

Author: john_mollaghan from Ireland
1 July 2002

I thought this movie was too long by far. If a movie is going to be 2.5 hours long it needs to keep the watchers interest, and I'm afraid it didn't.

While Smith played the part very well, he still wasn't really big enough to be convincing as Ali.

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Details, details, details

Author: Junker-2 from Wisconsin
23 June 2002

They get the details right.

When Will Smith/Muhammad Ali is knocked down at the end of the first Frazier fight, Smith has the details down almost exactly. The way he slowly gets up and then puts his right hand on the ropes is exactly they way it happened in real life. This movie gets the details right.

So what is wrong?

They say the mood in Ali's locker room before the Foreman fight was one of deadly gloom. Not even Ali's corner men really thought he could beat George Foreman. Not only was he facing the end of his career, but Ali's men were extremely worried that Foreman might seriously hurt their man. It was Ali himself, the one man in that locker room who really thought he could win, that lifted the mood. "Are we gonna dance?" He kept shouting to Bundini Brown. Soon Brown was answering: "All night long!"

This scene never makes it into the movie "Ali." And that is precisely the problem. While director Michael Mann was so intent on getting the details right, he forgot about the mood. The overwhelming odds that Ali faced, not only in the Foreman fight but in the first Liston fight, the fight with the Supreme Court and in so many other instances in his life, are glossed over. Instead, we are only given the facts.

Wham. He beats Quarry. Wham. He wins in the Supreme Court. Wham. He faces Frazier. All the scenes are presented, but we never feel their impact. Ali in the course of this movie goes from the most hated man in sports to the most loved. But we never feel the change. Again, we are only given the details.

See this movie if you want to see a great performance by Will Smith. Heck, you'll even forgive Smith for "The Wild, Wild West" based on his marvelous performance here.

But if you really want to learn about Muhammad Ali and what made him one of the most incredible figures of the 20th Century, you are better off looking elsewhere. In fact, the documentary "When We Were Kings" is a far better place to start.

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Not what was expected.

Author: mjfaris from pittsburgh, pa
12 June 2002

I was very disappointed in this movie. I was expecting to learn about the man and the boxer and instead I got a lesson in 60's music and jumpy camera shots. I think they missed so much of this great man's life and personality. They dont go into enough detail about anything really. Not how he became muslim or about his relationships or his boxing career. The best part was the relationship between Ali and Cossell. Will Smith did a good job with what he was given to work with but I just feel there could have been so much more.

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not a legend

Author: vampiro2002 from charleston, west virginia
9 June 2002

When I first heard that they were making this movie, I thought that it would be one of the greatest movies of all time. While Will Smith did a superb job of acting, I thought the movie showed how Ali was an arrogant,self-righteous man. He was a great man inside the ring. But outside the ring, he was not a very respectable person. The movie,however,was very good. It told more about the man than the legend. Wich is a rarity in hollywood.

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