Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Ali - The Fighter|
Actors: Muhammad Ali, George Foreman, Joe Frazier, Burt Lancaster
Directors: William Greaves, Rick Baxter
Genres: Indie & Art House, Documentary
Smokin' Joe the Fighter
Annie Van Auken | Planet Earth | 04/22/2010
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A more appropriate name for the documentary ALI THE FIGHTER would be "Joe Smokes the 'Chump'." For all the pre-fight hoopla shown here and Ali's questionable ring behavior, he came away from "The Fight of the Century" with a swollen face yet still the crowd favorite, while Smokin' Joe Frazier won a unanimous 15 round decision and the appreciation of only a portion of Madison Square Garden's audience.
About the product itself: a decent dub of what is an overly grainy movie. Although footage of the two boxers training or dissin' each other on the phone is entertaining, the gawking at Burt Lancaster at every opportunity plus prize money wrangling and viewing rights negotiations are really dull.
Except for severely edited 1 minute rests, the fight is complete. Shot from several angles, both low and high, near and far, the first thing we notice is there's no ringside commentators. Initially this can be disconcerting but in less than a round I found the silence preferable to all that usual jabber, progress reports and predictions.
At the risk of running afoul of Ali fans, my opinion of the match and the fighter:
He was certainly a boxer of enormous talent, yet after a 3.5 year layoff because of his conscientious objector refusal to be militarily inducted (a move I totally agreed with at the time), Ali's style had changed greatly, as this bout clearly shows. He's not as capable of pulling back to avoid a punch as he was prior to 1968. To his credit, this man could take punches with the best of them.
Tactically, Muhammad relies on hooking his left hand behind Frazier's neck and pushing Joe's head down. Because there's no ringside announcers here, referee Arthur Mercante's many warnings to Ali to stop holding Frazier are very noticeable. These however do little to curtail him. Perhaps a point off Ali's score for every violation after the warning might've been more effective than repeated chidings.
Ali's laying back on the ropes is more acceptable, as Joe didn't have to take the bait at these moments. In a title fight, the challenger must prove himself a better boxer. Joe could easily have backed off, stood at ring center and waited for his opponent to come to HIM.
This was a good fight of intense energy that the best man won. It would've been fitting if the crowd unanimously embraced Frazier after a hard-fought victory (those "A-li" chants never do let up), but such endings only happen in "Rocky" movies."
Fight of the Century
pizcaj | New Jersey | 01/14/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I knew of this fight from the constant discussions about it among my classmates during the weeks prior to the event when I was in grade school. Since that time, I've always been haunted by the mystic of this bigger-than-life event and was curious to see the whole 15 rounds. The mystic that I mention had to do with the reported intensity of this fight and the physical damage done to both fighters. My curiosity was further raised when I was in college and happened to come across a library book documentary about the first Ali-Frazier bout authored by Jose Torres, the title of which escapes me. His virtual round by round coverage of the fight itself was absolutely mesmerizing and made me want to see it all the more! Finally, in the mid 1980's, they played this documentary, which was titled as "The Fight" on TV, and apparently it's the same documentary as "Ali The Fighter". You can bet I had my VCR set to record it! Finally, after all these years, I was about to see this very elusive event for myself.
Well, all I can say, as a long-time boxing fan, is that this fight was the most fast-paced, intense, vicious boxing match that I had ever witnessed. I could not believe that two heavyweights could fight at the pace that these two great champions fought at and had sustained the punches that they received from one another! It certainly lived up to everything I've heard about it, and I've never seen any other boxing match that contained the amount of drama that this one had.
The media likes to talk about the Thrilla In Manilla as a classic, but I have to differ with them on that. By the time of the Thrilla In Manilla, both fighters had lost a lot of their speed, fluidity, and dynamic fighting style, where in the first fight, they were both much faster, sharper, and more lethal. There are those that say that Ali was past his prime when he came out of his exile, but to me, anyone who could dish out and receive the kind of punishment that Ali had sustained over those 15 hellishly-paced rounds from an righteously angry, relentless killing machine such as Joe Frazier, had to be a well-conditioned fighter. Although I has never personally liked the 1960's and early 1970's Ali, I had to deeply respect this man for the courage he displayed in this fight. To see him take that murderous left-hook of Frazier in the 11th round which was hard enough to buckle his knees, and come back to fight valiantly for the remaining rounds, brought a tear to my eyes. And how he ever got up so quickly, (considering he managed to get up in the first place) from such a devastating, picture-perfect left-hook during the 15th round, I'll never know. This man, with the "pretty face", was every bit as tough as Frazier.
Since I had misplaced my VHS recording of this great documentary, I'm going to put in my order for the DVD being sold on this site.
A great Doc
Corey Simples | Northern Virginia | 03/21/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film really takes you to the time when this fight took place. The footage gathered is top-notch and you are able to see Ali's charisma first hand. The absolute best part of this video is the fight at the end. It was incredible to watch that fight without commentators. It seemed like you could hear every blow and also some of the trash talking going on with the fighters. In my opinion this documentary tops when we were kings and I love that movie. Although I am a Muhammad Ali fan, after hearing some of the blows Joe Frazier was landing makes one gain a whole new respect for him."
Ali-Frazier I Buildup and Battle Misses a Punch
R. Lehrer | California | 01/04/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD should actually be titled something like Ali-Frazier I Prefight and Fight. The DVD is actually a movie that was first released in either 1971 or 1972 about the first fight between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier.
There's some great footage that captures the personalities of both Ali and Frazier. There is also some great training footage of each fighter. The tension of the prefight buildup is captured beautifully. The presentation ends with the actual fight.
So why am I giving this product just three stars?
Because the video quality is very poor.
The producer of this product did no editing to clean it up or digitize it. There are too many scenes where you can't clearly see the faces of the individuals. The visuals are somewhat distorted and the film appears very grainy.
If the producers ever decide to digitize this film, it would be a five, easily."