Big George Foreman12¦ Blu-ray, DVD
Celebrity endorsements of products can mean big business – just ask Nike and their Air Jordans.
One of the most well known outside of footwear, has to be a certain grill, as promoted by none other than George Foreman. For a number of generations, Foreman is the face and sizable body behind the infamous grill, with many of them unfamiliar with Foreman in the ring, who made boxing history.
Growing up in the rough fifth ward of Texas, with his mom (Sonja Sohn) and brothers and sisters, is young George. He’s bigger than most kids, and his size often gets him into trouble, fighting.
As he grows into a young man (Khris Davis), George sees a rough life for himself in years to come, if he doesn’t do something about it. He sees a leaflet for Jobs Corp, a programme that teaches skills to young men like George, that will more than likely help him out later down the line.
It’s there that he meets Doc Broadus (Forest Whitaker), who sees potential in George, in the ring at least, as a fighter. But even he doesn’t see the ambition burning in the young man, and the desire to take part in the Olympics in Mexico the following year, which through hard work and dedication, he achieves.
And so begins his professional boxing career, the likes of which legends are made.
The boxing genre is one that cinema returns to on a regular basis, and it’s understandable as to why; there is no other sport – with perhaps the arrival of MMA – that’s as brutal, that sees two opponents giving their all in the ring.
Of course the Rocky franchise has been a regular staple for audiences, but when you consider the heroics of real life boxers, it’s odd that there aren’t more films about them, other than Muhammad Ali that is.
Director George Tillman Jr. not only has a name for a decent fighter, but an eye for a good story too. Due to Foreman’s involvement with the aforementioned kitchen appliance, it’s easy to overlook his boxing career, but the fact of the matter is, he is a true legend of the sport.
The director brings his story to life well, from his humble beginnings, to his reaching the top – twice. It’s a traditional take, not taking any risks, with your standard training montages etc, but he does a great job of bringing Foreman’s life and career to the screen.
And in that sense, it’s more of a biography than a boxing film; the fighting sequences aren’t Rocky level, but they serve a purpose well.
Khris Davis puts in an impressively solid performance as Foreman, who may not have had the banter of someone like Ali, but still proved to be a foreboding figure in and out of the ring.
And in case you’re wondering, yes the grill does feature in the film; how could it not, when it’s made more money for Foreman than all his career winnings in the ring.
It won’t be the edgiest, most daring boxing bio you’ll ever see, but not every film can be Raging Bull.
If you’re unfamiliar with Foreman’s journey, and it truly is a remarkable one, this is well worth stepping into the ring for.