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Fight Club
September 10, 2001
Ali (opens Dec. 7)
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September 10, 2001

Fight Club

Ali (opens Dec. 7)

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SYNOPSIS: Will Smith grandly chews the scenery as the Greatest.

TRAILER STYLE: Solemn and soulful, with lots of scenes of 1960s conflicts (black vs. white, Ali vs. Liston) dissolving into one another, all set against Sam Cooke's gospel-tinged Bring It on Home to Me.

WHAT THE STUDIO WANTS YOU TO THINK: Raging Bull meets Malcolm X.

WHAT THE STUDIO DOESN'T WANT YOU TO THINK: The Greatest, by way of Cobb.

PREFAB CATCH-PHRASE: "What's my name? What's my name?"

BOTTOM LINE: Showy slow-motion boxing scenes juxtaposed with vintage tableaux of the civil rights movement put out the clear signal that this is A Serious Film. For the most part the details look convincing, most notably a buff Smith, who seems comfortable channeling the champ as fighter and clown. (A rubber-masked Jon Voight, however, makes for a creepy Howard Cosell.) Although it teeters on the edge of self-importance, ultimately the clip is appealing and provocative—much like Ali himself.

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