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Review

A star rating of 3 out of 5.

Will Smith gives a remarkable impersonation of Muhammad Ali in director Michael Mann's impressively mounted biopic. It begins with the then Cassius Clay winning the heavyweight title in 1964, then follows his conversion to Islam, his relationship with Malcolm X, his refusal to fight in Vietnam and concludes with his monumental 1974 comeback against George Foreman - the "Rumble in the Jungle". Smith's performance - with his punchy vocal mannerisms and muscular physical appearance - earned him his first Oscar nomination, but the movie is less convincing when it tries to provide some insight into the enigmatic fighter. Familiar events are lavishly re-created (Jon Voight's uncanny transformation into renowned American sportscaster Howard Cosell is one of the highlights) but are not re-examined or explored in any depth. While Mann's bruising approach to the heavyweight contests demands attention, elsewhere the sluggish pace and lightweight psychological profiling lessen the overall impact of a very lengthy movie. The result is a rather ordinary film about an extraordinary man.

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Credits

Cast

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Muhammad Ali / Cassius Clay Will Smith
Drew "Bundini" BrownJamie Foxx
Howard CosellJon Voight
Malcolm XMario Van Peebles
Angelo DundeeRon Silver
Howard BinghamJeffrey Wright
Don KingMykelti Williamson
Sonji RoiJada Pinkett Smith
BelindaNona Gaye
VeronicaMichael Michele
Chauncey EskridgeJoe Morton
Dr Ferdie PachecoPaul Rodriguez
Cassius Clay SrGiancarlo Esposito
Martin Luther King JrLeVar Burton
Elijah MuhammadAlbert Hall
Sonny ListonMichael Bentt
Joe FrazierJames N Toney
George ForemanCharles Shufford
Herbert MuhammadBarry "Shabaka" Henley
BradleyBruce McGill
Joe SmileyTed Levine
Brother "Joe"Leon

Crew

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DirectorMichael Mann

Details

Theatrical distributor
Entertainment
Released on
2002-02-15
Languages
English | Swahili | French
Guidance
Contains violence and swearing.
Available on
video and DVD
Formats
Colour
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