Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
Ebert & Roeper:
It's good -- but Ali himself was the greatest. So a reluctant, kind of mild thumbs up for this.
Smith ... demonstrates not only impressive boxing prowess ... but a maturity and subtlety that he's never before shown on screen.
We've seen Ali as the charismatic star of the real-time drama of his life. Ali, for all its flashy filmmaking, just doesn't compare.
New York Times:
Mann's first movie with feeling; his overwhelming love of its subject will turn audiences into exuberant, thrilled fight crowds.
The most impressive and persuasive rendering of a late-20th-century icon since Anthony Hopkins turned on that old Nixon charm in Oliver Stone's 1995 biopic.
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie,
Very good and definitely worth seeing, if only to be reminded of the extraordinary life of one of the most extraordinary figures of the last half of the 20th century.
If you have any interest at all in the subject, Ali is worth your time.
Globe and Mail:
[Mann] manages to dissect the sport visually, transcending the brutality cliche to reveal how speed and power and courage combine with fatigue and desperation and fear.
The film gives Ali his due by refusing to idealize him or to gloss over his failings.
New York Observer:
It is well-intentioned, sketchy, sprawling and unremarkable. At two hours and 38 minutes, it is also long-winded and exhausting.
Even though the movie is too long and suffers from an inconsistent tone, the narrative is compelling, as are the performances.
It lacks much of the flash, fire and humor of Muhammad Ali and is shot more in the tone of a eulogy than a celebration.
This could be the only movie we'll get on the fighter, and it's just not good enough.
San Francisco Chronicle:
If Michael Mann's new biopic of Muhammad Ali is not right up there with the gold standard of boxing biographies, Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro's Raging Bull, it misses by only a whisker.
A movie that, at its best, is as brashly eloquent in cinematic expression as Ali was with his fists.
Ali is no disgrace, but it's not much of a performer, especially considering that it is one of the few hyped year-end releases that coulda been a contender.
Filled with vivid cameos and set to an infectious soul beat that effectively covers the underlying hum of calculated precision.