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Ali
DVD disk
Sep 26, 2004 By: The Shootin Surgeon
Ali order
Director:
Michael Mann

Actors:
Will Smith
Jon Voight
Jamie Foxx

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
This highly anticipated and much hyped bio-pic chronicles portions of the life of the legendary Muhammad Ali outside and inside the ring. With a focus on the man rather than the boxer, it attempts to recreate the size of Ali's impact.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
This film is long. This film is very long and very slow. One might even say that this film is downright boring. Hey, wait a minute! That someone is me! Wow... for a film as highly touted and as highly acclaimed as this one, this sure was a letdown for me. The pace of the film basically moves as fast as a snail on weed and the story reads like an extremely incomplete account of a man who transcends his sport and whose impact can still be felt today. The man deserved better than this slow, deliberate and artificial account of his career by usually reliable director Michael Mann. Mann, who has directed some of my personal all-time faves in THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS and HEAT has managed to make Muhammad Ali seem like any other dude in town. That's probably the biggest problem I had with this film. I never really was able to feel how important Ali has been nor the size of his accomplishments and it could basically have been about any other guy.

Will Smith was pretty good as Ali and although I'm not at all a fan of Smith, I have to give him some props for getting a handle on a very original character (I only wish his wife had stayed out of the picture) but the show pretty much gets stolen by Jamie Foxx as Drew Brown. This guy really has a lot of range and impresses me more and more every time I see him. Jon Voight also makes an Oscar-Nominated appearance as Howard Cosell, with one of the worst make-up jobs in the history of film. The poor guy went through the whole film looking as if he were wearing one of those cheap plastic Halloween masks where nothing but your lips move when you talk. A bunch of other stars also cash a paycheck including Mario Van Peebles as Malcolm X, Giancarlo Esposito as Ali's father, Ron Silver as legendary trainer Angelo Dundee and Mykelti Williamson as Don King.

Overall, this was a very unimpressive effort that doesn't do justice to a man who pretty much threw an entire nation upside down during a stellar career that saw him become a household name around the world. You can say a lot about the film itself in that it was good looking with some decent style to it and some nice camera shots. The performances were also very good and the actual boxing action was more than just decent. The biggest drawback though, was that the film was simply too slow and too boring, with the high points few and far between and an unconvincing transition between the important points of Ali's career. It tries to do too much. One minute, Ali was buddy-buddy with Malcolm X, the next he's telling him off in Africa, then the dude gets assassinated and bang! Let's move on to something else. It was more a collage of events and vignettes than an actual storyline and to that I say "boo"!
THE EXTRAS
There's absolutely nothing on this DVD as extras except for theatrical trailers. I don't know whether that's good or bad. On one hand, after two and a half hours of slow-paced movie watching, I was sort of relieved that I didn't have to put up with more...but on the other hand, it was a chance for the DVD to redeem itself. It didn't.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Sorry Mr. Mann, I'm going to have to prescribe these patients a healthy dose of "avoidance" for this film. It simply did not come through. Long, slow and with nothing on the DVD to sink your teeth into, it just didn't cut it. If you guys have two and a half hours to spend, I suggest you learn how to play Monopoly instead.
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