Ali

"Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee" …these are the words of Muhammad Ali, aka Cassius Clay, The Champ, The Greatest, and a slew of other labels. If that doesn't ring a bell in your collective unconscious, comatose may be your middle name, because according to pop culture, Muhammad Ali is the most written about pugilist of the 20th century. Michael Mann's  (The Insider) biopic, Ali, spans a tumultuous decade (1964-1974) of his life and times: from his defeat of Sonny Liston for the world heavyweight championship, to the loss of his title (his refusal to fight in Vietnam), culminating in the biggest fight of the century, the Rumble in the Jungle (Zaire) where he regains the championship from a younger, brutish George Foreman. Add to that the chaotic array of historical events: Ku Klux Klan murders, a new Civil Rights Act, the rise and fall of Vietnam, and the formation of a movement called Black Pride, with Muhammad Ali front and centre. Mann's characteristic roving camera docudrama signature is evident in every shot, which evoke an insider's punch during the fight scenes, and more than o­ne wince from the viewer. Will Smith throws a masterful jab at reconstructing every nuance of Ali's volatile personality, from braggart rapper to social activist, in his most challenging role to date. Jamie Foxx (Bundini Brown) and Jon Voight (Howard Cosell) literally transform themselves into their real-life counterparts, which will no doubt catapult Foxx into sought-after dramatic terrain. Ali is definitely a contender for an Oscar title.

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