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Released: 24th September 2010

Director: Michael Mann

Stars: Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, Jon Voight

Certificate: 15

Reviewer: Samuel Cole

Directed by Michael Mann in 2001, Ali is a biographical film about the controversial and successful years of Cassius Marcellus Clay JR aka Muhammad Ali. Ali is played and portrayed perfectly by Will Smith. The story follows Ali’s journey from first capturing the world heavyweight championship in 1964 to the troublesome years following when Ali was stripped of his championship and banished from the world of boxing for refusing to be drafted into the Vietnam War, right to the infamous rumble in the jungle in October 1974 when Ali would once more become king of the heavyweight division.

The film tracks the significant events of the decade including Ali’s friendship with the black rights campaigner Malcolm X. This friendship is key to Ali and his way of life after converting to being a Muslim, a decision which was not popular with the public at the time. This moving tale of one man’s courageous fight against the world is truly uplifting and motivational to every viewer. I’m sure Ali himself would be very proud of his portrayal in the film; Will Smith is truly magnificent in this film.

I cannot stress enough the sheer brilliance of Smith’s performance in this film. Even after the cameras stopped rolling Smith remained in character. Shadowboxing running along the dusty tracks of Mozambique with hundreds of kids following chanting “Ali Ali Ali” this prompted director Michael Mann to start filming again and capture this truly magnificent scene. Smith’s resemblance to the great Ali does not just stop outside the ring, in the ring he was equally as impressive. Michael Mann himself had this to say about his performance “He could fight for real. His hand speed’s real good.” Not only his physical performance is phenomenal his speech is perfect and I mean perfect. If you shut your eyes you could be fooled into believing you are actually listening to Muhammad Ali himself.

I think that the other actors deserve a mention but none deliver a powerful performance like Will Smith. The characters of Drew Bundini Brown (Jamie Foxx) and Angelo Dundee (Ron Silver) are also played very well but admittedly they are not as believable as Smith is but still they deliver great performances. Jamie Foxx is very rarely ever in a bad role and yet again this is proved in this film he once again delivers a strong performance as Drew Bundini Brown who was Ali’s cornerman and also his speech writer. He wrote one of Ali’s most famous speeches used to taunt Sonny Liston before their championship clash, I’m sure you all know this line but it has to have a mention. “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, your hands can’t hit what your eyes can’t see”

Now I am aware some people may not be as much of a fan of Muhammad Ali as me but still I believe everyone could really enjoy and engage with this film. The critics all gave this film favourable reviews and raved about the performances as much as I have done. In all seriousness I would really recommended this film and cannot stress enough how much I would like everyone to watch this film and enjoy it as much as I have done.


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