Big George Foreman

Rating: 3 out of 5.

One of the most extraordinary developments in boxing history is when George Foreman, age 45, became the oldest heavyweight champion when he defeated 26-year-old Michael Moorer in the 10th round in Las Vegas on November 5, 1994. That event would have been enough to warrant a biopic…but there’s so much more.

What makes this a compelling sports drama is the man at the heart of this true tale. Living in the Fifth Ward of Houston, Texas, Foreman came from absolute poverty. Underestimated, he had to control his anger throughout a difficult childhood. After dropping out of high school, he joined the Jobs Corps work program, which assisted young adults in need. Actor Khris Davis (Judas and the Black Messiah) portrays the titular subject as an adult through the various stages of his career. Davis turns in a solid performance. Foreman would meet Doc Broadus (Forest Whitaker) in the Jobs Corps. There he discovered and encouraged Foreman’s talent for boxing. Broadus would become both trainer and mentor. Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland) is particularly engaging as the legendary trainer. Together the actors effectively evoke their close bond.

The ups and downs of George Foreman’s life are tailor-made for a biopic. You barely have to tinker with the details because the facts are inherently interesting. He achieved the gold medal in the heavyweight division at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. From there, he won his first 37 professional matches, 34 by knockout, then famously faced Joe Frazier and defeated him by KO. The boxer was crowned heavyweight champ. However, Foreman would lose in 1974 in Zaire to then-underdog Muhammad Ali in the storied “Rumble in the Jungle.” A few years later, he retired from boxing, became an ordained minister, and founded a youth center. I could go on. The accomplishments grow more incredible.

The saga moves from one episode to another with little drama or conflict. Director George Tillman, Jr. (The Hate U Give) reverently presents the various highlights of Foreman’s life in a celebratory manner. (The star athlete is an executive producer.) The movie is traditional and episodic. Yet his story is so uplifting and sweet (like the man himself) that it’s hard to dislike. His smiling demeanor has sold over 100 million units of the George Foreman Grill since 1994. There’s a reason for that. I recommend this inspiring portrait to fans of the champion.


3 Responses to “Big George Foreman”

  1. I’ve always liked George Foreman and remember that smile always. I used to
    laugh when he was a commentator during boxing matches. He would say his thoughts and always end with that smile. Infectious. I thought the movie was very good, but could’ve been better. 3 ⭐️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Apologies Mark, I somehow unfollowed your blog so I have some reviews to catch up on here. Hope you don’t mind the multiple likes.

    I gotta say I am curious about this one because there was a time in my life where I merely thought that ‘George Foreman’ was just the name or style of the grill! haha I didn’t realize it was a product of a boxer who went on to have much success in many areas of life (probably not alone on that, but still)


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