The biopic on Heavyweight Champion George Foreman is all about grit, faith and redemption : The Tribune India

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The biopic on Heavyweight Champion George Foreman is all about grit, faith and redemption

The biopic on Heavyweight Champion George Foreman is all about grit, faith and redemption

Muhammad Ali (second left) and George Foreman (second right)

Film: Biopic: Big George Foreman: The Miraculous Story of the Once and Future Heavyweight Champion of the World

Director: George Tillman Jr

Cast: Khris Davis, Sullivan Jones, Forest Whitaker, Lawrence Gilliard Jr, John Magaro, Sam Trammell, Carlos Takam, Cedric Boswell, Tom Virtue and Phillip Craddock-Haney


“I was 28 years old when I died”… says the titular character George Foreman in the opening scene and thus begins the story. The sports biopic is based on the two-time heavyweight champion George Foreman, the second time at the age of 46, which makes him the oldest boxer to have achieved this feat till date.

While most sports dramas inspire us to be better sportspersons, this one is also about being better human beings. In a way, the ‘big’ in the title stands for his big heart.

Foreman’s (Khris Davis) journey from the ghetto in Houston, Texas, to the ring isn’t a smooth one, which makes for a good watch, but it’s the second half of the film that is engaging. Not that the actors leave any stone unturned while re-enacting the historic moments in Foreman’s life, but because we relate to a redemption story better. The director’s choice not to over-dramatise the boxer’s life for entertainment is a good decision. However, the biopic underplays George and his success and gives too much credit to the people around him. For boxing fans, this 129-minute film wouldn’t do justice to Foreman’s legendary career and personal life.

Khris has not just aced the physical transformation but also the heavy mental work both inside and outside the ring. He nails the scenes where Foreman reconnects with Christ and decides to take a path opposite to boxing and the ever-growing rage in him. As he befriends Muhammad Ali, the boxer who defeated him once, and tackles his tormentors with a smile, Foreman comes across as an endearing character. After winning a big fight against Joe Frazier in 1973 to become the heavyweight champion of the world, he achieves what he wants, a better life for his family. But it gives him an ego boost, which is, however, barely touched in the film.

George Tillman Jr has made sure that filming of the fights are in sync with real matches which Foreman played against Joe Frazier (Carlos Takam), Muhammad Ali (Sullivan Jones), Sonny Liston (Cedric Boswell) and Johnny Carson (Tom Virtue). The film scores in casting, be it his family members or the opponents. The background score amps up the ghetto feel in the outset and culminates perfectly well with the song, King is Born by Aloe Blacc. It’s rare to find faith in a sports drama and Forman’s redemption story is full of it. The second time he walks into the ring, he is a changed man, without his infamous rage.

It is not a sports biopic if it doesn’t leave the viewers motivated and positive about life. Big George Foreman does reasonably well in putting across the winning mind-set whilst talking about a legend worth knowing.