Friday, 28 November 2014

#FILMFRIDAY #ESPspotlight REVIEW: 'The Trials of Muhammad Ali' (TRUE STORY)

With the release of the latest documentary based on arguably the greatest athlete of all time out today, I decided to take a look at it's predecessor that, unlike 'I Am Ali', focuses solely on the five-year period when Ali was a convicted expatriate.

We all know that he was a great fighter and an even better showman, we've all seen the knockouts; but Muhammad Ali became a household name with his gloves off, by refusing to be drafted to fight in the Vietnam war. He openly stated that the Vietnamese people were not his enemies, contrary to his warring home nation, and even went so far as taking to the Broadway stage, in an effort to tell his side of the story and fight his battles. He may've floated like a butterfly, and stung like a bee, but Ali's singing voice made my ears bleed, the end was the best part of the story – how's that for a rhyme, Mr Entertainer? However the unintentional light note was only a footnote in a part of history filled with sadness and persecution.

Forced to travel the world on speaking engagements, throughout his boxing ban, Ali no longer commanded the same million dollar cheques. The documentary told of his family surviving on the brink of destitution; despite retaining the body of a champion, and the eleven financiers who backed his initial bid for global supremacy. Supporting statements came from everyone of importance; from Minister Louis Farrakhan, to his eldest daughter Hana. With genuine footage included, it was all the more poignant to see the real troubled man struggle, as he tried to hide his fears behind that natural verbal bravado that we all know and love.

He faced downright disrespect from TV talk show hosts like the incestuous Jerry Lewis, and called our own checkerboard Romeo David Frost 'The Devil'. Students verbally abused him, and the Sports world shunned him; but one day, 5 years into his sentence, a technicality meant that the eight Supreme Court Justices' hearing his case were left with no alternative but to throw the entire thing out. When it became apparent that the terminology used by the US legal team portrayed the accused Ali in two opposite states of mind, only a matter of days apart

Finally vindicated, and once again a free man, the film went on to show how Muhammad Ali silenced his biggest opponent ever the American (In)Justice System.

'The Trials of Muhammad Ali' is available to rent now on DVD.

Until the next...Enjoy!
ES ;)