ABC Film Challenge – Biopic – A – Ali (2001)

Director: Michael Mann

Writer: Stephen J Rivele, Christopher Wilkinson, Eric Roth, Michael Mann (Screenplay) Gregory Allen Howard (Story)

Starring: Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, Jon Voight, Mario Van Peebles, Ron Silver, Jeffrey Wright, Mykelti Williamson

 

Plot: A biography of sports legend Muhammad Ali, focusing on his triumphs and controversies between 1964 and 1974.


Tagline – Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.

Runtime: 2 Hours 37 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Boxing Biopic a Must Watch

 

Story: Ali starts on the brink of Cassius Clay (Smith) first title match in 1964, a match he wins to become heavyweight champion of the world, with his place on top of the world ready, Cassius joins forces with Malcolm X (Peebles) becoming a Muslim in the process, changing his name to Muhammad Ali.

With the Vietnam war drafting men from America, Muhammad is drafted, but he refuses to go and fight which leads him to be stripped of the title and banned from fighting in certain states, Ali uses his to create one of the biggest fights in history, The Rumble in the Jungle.

 

Thoughts on Ali

 

Characters – Muhammad Ali is one if not the most famous boxers in the world, in the history of the sport, he help shape the sport to be what we know now, with his charisma and loud behaviour against his opponents, we follow just ten years of his life, from his first title win, through his religious change, the battle against the government about fighting in the Vietnam war, to being part of one of the biggest fights in boxing history. When we focus on the rest of the real-life people we get to see the loyal people in his life, reporter Howard Cosell that seemed to have a wonderful relationship which included banter between the two and the promoters that make the fight possible.

PerformancesWill Smith in the role of Ali is brilliant, this is easily his best performance of his career showing the world that he can have his wise cracking side mixed with the serious side. We have an unrecognizable Jon Voight who is shows us all that how easily he can morph into any role. The rest of the supporting cast are good without being fantastic or taking away anything from Smith in the leading role.

StoryThe story here takes us into Muhammed Ali’s life for ten years, we get to see from the night he first won the title till the famous Rumble in the Jungle match. We do see the obstacles he must overcome to remain the man he was which in itself is an incredible story during late 60s America. My issues with the story come from not seeing everything that Ali went through in this career, mostly the rise to the top, which could have been an even more interesting story. for the story to only cover 10- years is interesting because we could have seen so much more of the legal battle against the government, the religious battles he faced because of his stance on war and action with the women. The truth is, Ali lived an amazing life and there are so many story we could learn about him from his career any film just can’t cover them all.

Biopic/SportsTen years of one of the great boxers in the history of the sport, one of the men that changed the sport almost doesn’t give it enough justice. The sports side of the film comes from the boxing scenes which are incredibly real through the film we do get a couple and they do go on a long time.

SettingsThe film here takes us to the important locations in Ali’s life, the ring of course is the most important one while we get scenes away from the ring to as we look at his church and his personal life.


Scene of the Movie –
Rumble in the Jungle.

That Moment That Annoyed Me I would have like to see more of his life and career

Final ThoughtsThis is one of those biopics which is great to watch and has wonderful scenes, only for it to be missing that big it factor about it. The fights do feel real which is key and the performances are flawless, we could only have learnt more.

 

Overall: Biopic to enjoy.

Rating

 

 

Franchise Weekend – Jaws: The Revenge (1987)

Director: Joseph Sargent

Writer: Michael De Guzman (Screenplay)

Starring: Lorraine Gary, Lance Guest, Mario Van Peebles, Karen Young, Michael Caine

 

Plot: Chief Brody’s widow believes that her family is deliberately being targeted by another shark in search of revenge.


Tagline – On Friday June 17, man’s deepest fear will rise again

Runtime: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Just Bad

 

Story: Jaws 4 The Revenge starts as we head back to Amity Bay, as Sean (Anderson) now works on the police department with Ellen (Gary) carrying on her life after Chief’s death (off camera), when Sean is killed in a shark attack, Michael (Gust) returns to offer as much comfort as he can.

Michael takes his mother of Barbados for a change of scenery with his family wife Carla (Young) and daughter Thea (Barsi), with an island full of characters including pilot Hoagie (Caine) and local Jake (Van Peebles), when a great white appears in research area, Ellen believe the shark is following and hunting down the family.

 

Thoughts on Jaws 4 The Revenge

 

Characters – Ellen Brody has lost her husband and now she has lost her youngest son to a shark attack, she believes the shark is now tracking down the family in an act of revenge, wanting Michael to give up his job in the ocean. She also starts a relationship with pilot Hoagie that shows her a new look on life. Michael is the eldest son of Ellen, he works in the ocean and has his own family in Barbados, he uses the opportunity to study the shark which has never been located in the waters around Barbados. Hoagie is the pilot and gambler living on the island, that starts a relationship with Ellen.

PerformancesLorraine Gary isn’t the strongest in her role, she had been a weaker part of the previous films and making her the lead doesn’t work for the film. Lance Guest is a forgettable with his performance because we don’t see anything fresh. Michael Caine enjoyed his payday here.

StoryThe story plays out like the shark is now following the family and hunting them down in an act of revenge, the family move to Barbados to escape, but it follow them. This is a low key story, that turns funny for the most part of the movie, it has the typical peril moments but never becomes the film you expect it to be.

Adventure/HorrorThe adventure takes us to a new setting, which is fine, but the horror comes from sitting through the film.

SettingsThe Barbados settings was popular for Michael Caine, it does just end up being more water related location which is all you need.

Special EffectsThe effects are terrible and we even see the failure to remove the use of props for the shark.


Scene of the Movie –
Caine the pilot introduction.

That Moment That Annoyed Me The rest.

Final ThoughtsThis was a pointless sequel in an era where any movie that made money should only be made cheap so they can be funny bad, rather than big budget disaster.

 

Overall: Bad is being nice.

Rating

 

 

New Jack City (1991)

Director: Mario Van Peebles

Writer: Thomas Lee Wright, Barry Michael Cooper (Screenplay)

Starring: Wesley Snipes, Ice-T, Allen Payne, Chris Rock, Mario Van Peebles, Michael Michele, Bill Nunn, Judd Nelson

 

Plot: A crime lord ascends to power and becomes megalomaniacal while a maverick police detective vows to stop him.

 

There may be spoilers the rest of the review

 

Verdict: Good Addition to Gangster Genre

 

Story: New Jack City starts in New York City as the drug war is sky high with drug maverick Nino Brown (Snipes) has a plan to dominate the cities drug trafficking process. When Nino gets complete control over an apartment building where he produces the product holding the resident’s prisoners.

Two years have passed and now Detective Stone (Peebles) wants Appleton (Ice-T) and Nick Peretti (Nelson) to lead an investigation to take down Nino. Hiring former dealer Pookie (Rock) to go undercover due to his tight connection with Nino we are left to see how they plan on taking down Nino.

 

Thoughts on New Jack City

 

Characters/PerformanceNino is what you would call a brilliant drug kingpin that fully controls the operation and a threat to the city, he will kill anyone that gets in his way. Scotty is the cop that pushes the limits too often making this battle against drugs personal. Nick is the disgraced cop from another town but doesn’t fit into the neighbourhood but is also just as committed to bringing down Nino.

Performance wise, Snipes does shine in this leading role getting to have a lot of fun with his performance, Ice-T is good but not as convincing to this world, with Judd Nelson giving us as good supporting role. Chris Rock should get praise for his performance which I believe was one of his first roles.

StoryThe story bottles down to the rise and fall of Nino Brown or any other generic crime boss, this is because we have him start his operation and facing enemies from police and other drug bosses. This isn’t the most original story but is a good watch for anyone who is a fan of the genre.

Action/CrimeThe action when needed is mostly wild gun battles that show the chaos the drug wars can cause. The crime side of the story comes from the idea that we are dealing with drugs circulating around the big city.

SettingsNew York City is a great choice for the setting because it shows the different sides of the tracks the people can all come from in this war.

Final ThoughtsWhen it comes to the drug related films I am not the biggest fan but this one is an easy watch for the fans of the genre.

 

Overall: This is a good addition to the genre that has its place in the gangster history.

Rating