It is nice to get the perspective of some of Ali's opponents.
Just how much more are they going to milk out of Ali's story?Facing Ali gives viewers The Greatest, Muhammad Ali, through the eyes of some of the people he fought. We hear Henry Cooper talk about facing this man. How he knocked a young Ali down, showed his vulnerability, and yet was stopped on cuts shortly after that. We hear the oft told tale by George Foreman about their fight in Zaire, Africa. Foreman talks about how he went out with all guns blazing for 7 rounds, only to be stopped by an Ali right hand in the 8th. Ken Norton discusses breaking Ali's jaw and taking a decision over him, and then having two controversial fights after that in which Ali won on points.
The stories flow like fine wine on this DVD as Facing Ali s us what its like to fight not only a man but a myth and legend.
Lionsgate has given us 3 featurettes on this DVD. They are:
- After the Bell
- Bringing the Fights to Life
- Facing Ali: Book to Screen
These featurettes were all well done if not a little too brief. Is any one better than the other? That depends on your tastes and what you like as a DVD user. If you want to see what happened to these fighters post their matchup with Ali, then you probably will gravitate to the "After the Bell" featurette. If you want to see how these fights were brought to life then there's a featurette for that. My only complaint with all of these supplemental features is that I wish they were longer.
Animated Trivia Cards
16x9 Widescreen - 1.78:1. As this is a Spike TV release it has a certain look and style that is germane to that network. When one considers all of the archived footage that was used, mixed in with footage that was shot recently of the fighters, the amount of style that this movie incorporates is highly impressive. This 100 minute film plays like a fairly standard documentary but it always keeps moving, and like Ali later in his career, only slows down to let the effect of the stories sink in.
Dolby Digital. Again, when one considers all of the footage and attendant audio that comes with it, I think they will be impressed at how well the sound is put together with this release. Everything sounded solidly leveled and I never had to turn up the audio on my set that loud. There is somewhat of a disparity between the old and new footage but the post-production team behind this film seems to have taken care of all of those problems.
Ali stands over a fallen Sonny Liston on the front of this DVD cover during their second fight when Liston got stopped in 2 rounds from a "phantom punch." The names of all the fighters featured in this documentary are shown down the side. (The list makes one wonder what story Liston would tell about there fights if he were still alive?). The back features a shot of Ali, shots of all the fighters that appear in this movie (they are shown how they look today), a description of what this movie is about, a Special Features listing, a credits list and technical specs.
As cynical as I am about hearing and continuing to hear the story of Muhammad Ali, I was pleased with the work that Lionsgate did with this DVD. It was great getting to hear from so many fighters and I loved getting perspectives from people like Ron Lyle, Larry Holmes, Ernie Shavers, Leon Spinks, etc. because I had never really heard them talk about facing Ali before. In that regard this DVD was excellent. Hearing from Foreman, Frazier and Terrell was a little redundant but I guess one cannot tell the story of his historic figure and not include these aspects of the legend.
If you are sports fan, a boxing fan, or you want some insight and history into Muhammad Ali, then this DVD will certainly provide you that. An entertaining watch!