Far Greater Passion than Will Smith's "Version" of the Ali
Dr.Muhammad | Washington, DC United States | 05/11/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I respect Will Smith's moving, and brilliant portrayal of Muhammad Ali. Mr. Smith's performance and efforts truly warranted him receiving the oscar nomination which came from the Academy of Motion Pictures and Arts.Having said that-and surprisingly enough since the director was Michael Mann (Miami Vice, Manhunter, Last of the Mohicans, Heat-and I can stop right there-those titles speak for themselves!)and Will Smith has a strong supporting cast-the movie lacked passion, zeal, and emotion. It ended up being a clearly staged movie, trying to cram an epic into a long film. The result was mixed at best, lacking in soul and spirit of the very man it sought to portray.Usually its very difficult to have a person portray themself-and Muhammad Ali is not in the same league of acting as Will Smith. Nor does the movie, "The Greatest" have the immense supporting cast-though Ernest Borginine (Angelo Dundee) and others are noteworthy. However, the key to "The Greatest" is that the real people play themselves-they are just being themselves. The fights aren't staged-but are actual footage of the fights. The news conferences are the real drama, and the interactions with Ali are both real clips and recreations. Will Smith is a very funny actor-and it surprised me that the humor of Ali (and I mean the kind of humor that makes you laugh till it hurts)did not come out.Seeing Muhammad Ali cracking jokes and seeing his humor is poignant-and an awesome experience. Seeing the real Bundini, its awesome. Now, I'm not saying the performances-in the acting since, or that the plot, in the Hollywood sense is strong. What I am saying is something that Bundini says in a clip from "When We Were Kings." To paraphrase, 'Muhammad Ali's life ain't no dang Hollywood movie...he's a real man, with challenges and obstacles to overcome, and unlike some script, we don't always feel good everyday, we gotta work hard at this thing to get it right, we gotta push ourselves to be the Champion for the People, and to not lose by taking it easy even when we want too.'And my friends, that,to sum it up, is why seeing the shorter, choppier version (which does omit somethings the Will Smith movie either covers, speculates about, or just plain makes up)will leave you coming away so inspired, and so happy-and knowing at the basic level-that "The Greatest" is the better story."
This Is Not The William Klein Directed Documentary
D. Lewis | New York, NY | 08/11/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I actually did not watch it once I became aware that it was not the film I was looking for. Amazon made a mistake in listing William Klein as the Director - so beware. Through some investigating I've determined that the DVD I intended to purchase is a documentary titled "Ali The Greatest: 1964-1974." I've seen clips of it and have read many very favorable reviews - it looks outstanding..."
A Must have
firstname.lastname@example.org | usa | 09/19/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Muhammad Ali always Moved me as a fighter&just the way the Brother spoke His mind.this Film was very direct&took clips over His Career mixed in with where He was.when it comes to Muhammad Ali you always watch if it's a Film or if it's a Book you read it. he is the Greatest."
Genuine, valuable time capsule
A. Taliaferro | San Francisco | 11/06/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"William Klein presents more of just a collection of footage than a narrated over-blown documentary, the early days (right before the first Liston fight) then at the second Liston fight, then in 1974 in Africa, aned I like it that way. We're able to see raw footage, most never seen before, including video of the Beatles hamming it up with Ali (before now I've seen only photographs. Klein also takes us into a Harlem high school class where kids are discussing Ali, we meet the millionaire men who guided Ali's early career, and so much more which serves as a genuine, valuable time capsule.
Also here on film is Ali doing hismost peculiar bit: while in Africa, training, sometimes he'd pretend the sparring partner was Foreman, and that he was in the big fight, losing! He'd even go so far as to fall down twice, and be counted out! Then he'd get up and say 'just kidding'....Wow.. The man was SO CONFIDENT he would even tempt fate!"