Review by Amanda Gilmore for Mr. Will Wong
It’s clear that George Foreman (Khris Davis) has lived a remarkable life. A life that this Biopic attempts fit into its two-hour and nine-minute runtime.
We are first introduced to him in childhood as he, his siblings and mother live in poverty. This has left him with a chip on his shoulder. In his teens he enrols in a school that gives room and board to students. It’s there he meets Doc Broadus (Forest Whitaker), who introduces him to Boxing. Finally, George has found an outlet for his anger. Quickly, George becomes an Olympic Gold Medalist and World Heavyweight champion. But when he dies and comes back to life, he finds a new path and quits boxing to become a preacher. However, when financial hardship hits his family and church, George steps back in the ring and reclaims the championship at age 45, becoming the oldest heavyweight champion in boxing history.
It’s challenging to fit so much of one man’s life into a film. But that is precisely what Director and Co-writer George Tillman Jr. and his fellow writers Frank Baldwin and Dan Gordon accomplish. They deliver all facets of George. Focusing on his shocking rise in his 20s, his new found life mission as a preacher and then his inspiring journey back into the ring. Importantly, they never shy away from George’s flaws, such as his multiple affairs early on in his career.
However, by including so much we only scratch the surface of each monumental moment. Montages and time jumps are used to include a lot of information in a short period of time. These choices, although effectively work to tell the Boxer’s complete story, also hinder the emotional impact of many integral moments.
That being said, there is so much to love about Big George Foreman such as the incredible performance from Davis who fully transforms into the Boxer. He carries the rage simmering within George in his 20s. He shows the euphoria that being a preacher has for him. And he excels at showing George in his 40s, coming back with a vengeance.
Personally, the greatest moments of the Film take place with young George learning how to box and 40-year-old George getting back in the ring. These moments are inspirational and uplifting because we are watching someone rely on themselves and their strengths in order to take themselves and their family out of poverty.
Sony Pictures Canada release BIG GEORGE FOREMAN in theatres Friday, April 28, 2023.
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