Photo by: Alan Markfield/Sony Pictures
I’m very much telling my age with this notion, but when I think about George Foreman, I automatically think about the George Foreman grill. Fully named the George Foreman Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine, the portable double-sided electrically heated grill went to market in 1994 and has since sold 100 million units worldwide. My family had a few of those grills and I remember it being a very convenient way to get grilled food with little hassle, but George Foreman is much more than the grilling product.
Big George Foreman: The Miraculous Story of the Once and Future Heavyweight Champion of the World is the biopic feature film in theaters on Friday, April 28. Executive produced by Foreman, directed by George Tillman Jr., story by Dan Gordon, Frank Baldwin, and George Tillman Jr, and a screenplay by Baldwin and Tillman, Big George Foreman chronicles the life and boxing career of George Foreman.
Khris Davis (Judas and the Black Messiah) stars in the film as George Foreman through his teen and adult years, and Academy Award winner Forest Whitaker plays Doc Broadus, Foreman’s trainer and mentor. The ensemble cast includes Jasmine Mathews, Sullivan Jones, Lawrence Gilliard Jr., John Magaro, Sam Trammell, Sonja Sohn, and Shein Mompremier. Although this film is slated as a sports drama, there is plenty to enjoy if that’s not a genre you typically gravitate towards.
Transforming into a Heavyweight
The impoverished childhood of George Foreman and his siblings opens the film as viewers see through George’s eyes how his anger from bullying and never having enough influenced his early years. Later Foreman was able to channel that anger in boxing after meeting Doc Broadus (Whitaker) during his time at Job Corps.
In Big George Foreman we first see Khris Davis as the soon famed boxer in his early teen years and playing the role throughout the film as the story goes to Foreman’s mid-40s. Davis captures the essence of what it means to be a champion by transforming into George Foreman physically and mentally, but the most commendable takeaway is Davis’s commitment to his weight transformation. The actor has gone on record saying he ate up to 7000 calories a day to maintain the fluctuation of his appearance to play the two-time world heavyweight champion and Olympic gold medalist. There was even a time where he gained 50 pounds in 5 weeks. Davis’s dedication to portraying George Foreman physically was an awe to watch.
Inside the Ring
I’m not a boxing fan, but those moments inside of the ring were the most captivating to watch. Many of Foreman’s iconic boxing matches were depicted on screen such as his showdowns with Joe Frazier (Carlos Takam) and Muhammad Ali (Sullivan Jones).
The sound editing during those scenes was superb. Each blow the boxers made connect would ricochet through the theater with a resounding boom that made it feel like the punches were impacting you. Sullivan Jones’s take on Muhammad Ali also made for an entertaining aspect of the film and brought many comical moments whenever he was on screen.
After a near death experience, George Foreman swears off boxing and turns his life to Christ by becoming a preacher. Now in his second marriage, Foreman’s life takes a drastic change, but a financial hardship eventually brings him back to boxing, returning to the ring at 45, and becoming the oldest boxer to claim a heavyweight champion title.
This part of the film can be seen as a source of inspiration in that what’s truly destined for you will find a way to enter your life no matter what. George’s faith is what guided him towards and through that pivotal boxing match at age 45, and Khris Davis brought that moment to life earnestly.
Big George Foreman may be centered on boxing, but the biopic sheds light on who George was as a man in the brief timeline highlighted in the film, and showcases how a skill groomed in your youth can find ways to manifest back into your life when the perfect opportunity presents itself.
Big George Foreman: The Miraculous Story of the Once and Future Heavyweight Champion of the World releases in theaters Friday, April 28.
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