Critic Reviews



Based on 39 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
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]
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.
Connects so often and so persuasively that its shortcomings -- the movie goes slack from time to time -- really don't amount to much.
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.
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.
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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