Ali – ITV4

Director Michael Mann's attempt to capture the spirit of boxer Muhammad Ali (Will Smith) and the difficult times he lived through is less a conventional biopic than a scrapbook of incandescent impressions

Director Michael Mann’s attempt to capture the spirit of boxer Muhammad Ali (Will Smith) and the difficult times he lived through is less a conventional biopic than a scrapbook of incandescent impressions.

The movie covers the 10 tumultuous years from his taking of the world title from Sonny Liston through to 1974’s legendary ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ with George Foreman, emphasising Ali’s conversion to Islam and his refusal to be conscripted into the US Army.

Crucial factors, indeed, but it is a shame that the movie gives so little attention to Ali’s honing of his exceptional boxing skills.

Still, Oscar-nominated Smith gives an exceptional performance and Jon Voight is also magnificent as Howard Cosell, his TV pundit pal.