It's hard to define exactly where this highly selective biography, with Muhammad Ali playing himself, goes so wrong, but it's like one of his later fights: heavy in unrealised potential, poor value considering the stars involved, yet with Ali himself emerging unscathed at the end. The script - credited to Ring Lardner Jr - veers between some felicitous use of the young Clay's poetry which grows into the fluent speeches given to Ali himself, and hamfisted bridging passages that gloss over any details out of tune with the Rocky image (e.g. the death of his mentor Malcolm X, Zaire). Likewise the direction, which evokes some early nigger-baiting tensions, then as soon as Ali takes over the role and dodges the draft, settles for straight hero-worship.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Ring Lardner Jr|
Roger E Mosley
James Earl Jones