FILM REVIEW :
Michael Mann's "Ali" takes a look at ten years (1964-1974) in the life of former heavyweight boxing champion of the world, Cassius Clay, better known as Muhammad Ali. Will Smith takes on the demanding role & does an excellent job in portraying the charismatic, larger than life sports icon. Smith received an Academy Award nomination for his convincing portrayal of the fast talking, hard hitting boxing legend. Veteran Hollywood actor Jon Voight also received an Oscar nomination & is almost unrecognisable in his portrayal of famous sportscaster Howard Cosell. Some of the films best moments are when Smith & Voight combine.
At approximately 2½ hrs running time "Ali" unfortunately suffers from its length. The pacing is slow, many scenes are drawn out & could have benefited with a slight edit. The films character developments, particularly between Ali & his many wives are somewhat superficial. All-this aside the film does feature some well-staged fight sequences & the acting in general is of a very high standard, particularly Will Smith & John Voight. What the film does well is cover the important moments in the life of the man who "floats like a butterfly & stings like a bee". "Ali" looks closely at the changing of his slave name from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali, his refusal to go to Vietnam ("No Viet Cong ever called me nigger") & of course the famous "Rumble In The Jungle" with George Forman. "Ali" should have strong appeal to boxing fans, Will Smith fans & of course fans of the one & only, Muhammad Ali ("The Greatest").