HBO biopic of the larger than life boxing promoter, from the book by Jack Newfield. Starting in the late '50s, when the young Don first killed a man (in self-defence), taking in his petty criminal career running numbers ('selling hope', he calls it) through the '60s, then settling down to business after a prison revelation that boxing is where a black man can make it big, the movie is episodic but pretty lively. The most notable device is to have King commenting on the action as it unfolds, railing against the hypocritical HBO motherfuckers (there's a wonderful scene explaining the potency of that word) for what is anything but a whitewash. It feels too rushed to land a really heavy punch, and the Ali lookalike doesn't, but slick direction by John (Two Days in the Valley) Herzfeld and Rhames' Emmy-winning performance ensure this comes out a winner on points.
Cast and crew