'Ali' offers stunning re-creations of bouts Ali fought. In the second Liston fight, the auditorium is underlighted and clouded with fetid cigar smoke, which was why the famous picture of a snarling Ali standing over Liston was so dramatic; indoor arenas are now bright enough to be spotted from Alpha Centauri.
Ali was the African-American who exulted in saying exactly what he was capable of, and the bouncing-boy braggadocio of hip-hop is impossible to imagine without him. So it makes sense that one of his spiritual children, the sunny-dispositioned rapper turned actor Will Smith, would play him.
Ali inside the ring and Muhammad Ali outside the ring were totally different men; his abrasive, magnetic daring and infectious self-love outside the ring galvanized the world and distracted many from his sniper's precision. He was a heavyweight with the fluttering gracefulness of a middleweight.