Ali Movie Review
Some consider him to be the greatest athlete of all time, and that is probably why they made a movie about him.
Michael Mann, the director of The Insider, teams with Will Smith to bring the legendary heavyweight champion's story to life in Ali. Through vivid imagery and stunning cinematography, the portion of Ali's life where he became champion and then regained his title some years later is told. Kudos to Mann, who presents Ali much in the way he did The Insider, which was simply stunning. The whole movie is visually impressive. The fighting scenes outdo most other movies of similar content
Even more impressive than the technical attributes of the film is Will Smith's performance, which should surely give him an Oscar nomination (he already has a Golden Globe nod). Smith has transformed himself physically and mentally into Ali, his face looking thicker, his arms looking much thicker, and his whole body more defined. The fast-talking boxer is a good role for Smith to take on his first truly serious role, since he gets to spit out funny sayings left and right while never actually being comical. Smith pulls off as good of range of emotions as any other actor on the planet, and by and large he alone makes this movie what it is.
The movie itself is really good, with a good script and a good choice of scenes. Ali, marked at over two and a half hours long, isn't quite as quick as Mohammed Ali was, but it isn't that slow, either. There are a few scenes that drag on here and there, but for the most part it is entertaining and interesting to watch. Nevertheless, Ali does not stand out as a great movie, because it really doesn't have any great theme to it. It doesn't really try at the black rights theme, nor should it; not every movie starring a black historical figure should deal with race. It does try at expressing views of religious freedom, but when all is said and done, every back story is put behind the boxing. As it should be, Ali's boxing story, his rise and his falls, is the main focus, but a boxing story alone does not make a movie great. It probably doesn't help that Ali is still alive, which might take away from some of the umph that most historical dramas have.
Ali is a good movie to watch, and even if Mann's style wasn't there, it would be worth watching just to see Smith in action.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.