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Phantom Punch 2009
Description: From his discovery by a priest while serving time at the Missouri State Penitentiary to the infamous 'Phantom Punch' by Cassius Clay which effectively ended his career, the film spans the years from 1950 to Liston's mysterious and untimely death in 1971.
Released: 01 Sep 2008 Director: Robert Townsend Writers: Ryan Combs Actors: Ving Rhames, Stacey Dash, Nicholas Turturro, Bridgette Wilson-Sampras Genres: Biography, Drama, Sport
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Phantom Punch Reviews:

Robert Townsend told in reports that he wanted to present the real Sonny Liston and he said, "History hasn't been type to Sonny Liston." He goes and he makes Liston's death look like a suicide instead of a murder? He shows Liston just plain quitting on the stool in his first war with Ali? He shows Liston trying to blind Ali in the first fight? He shows Liston throwing the Ali rematch for no apparent reason? Townsend is an idiot. This film is so terrible it makes Meteor Boy look like a masterpiece.I was unfortunate enough to see this film and actually I know why it was never released. It is a piece of garbage. This is one of the worst films I've ever scene. Not only is it a poor boxing movie, but it's an terrible biopic. I was really shocked at how terrible this film was. I couldn't wait for a film about Sonny Liston and this is what I got? This film hasn't been released to theaters and it never will be. If Townsend is lucky, maybe the film will receive released straight to DVD or maybe they will place it on TV. But I don't see this doing well wherever it goes.Meteor Boy failed to mention in his film that Liston was the favourite in his wars with Ali. In the first fight, Liston was a 7-1 favorite. It would create all the sense in the globe for him to take a dive for the mob. I read accounts that Liston told he was "only following orders" when he quit on the stool. Other stupid part of the stage that had me shaking my head was the part when Townsend shows them putting a foreign substance on his glove to blind Ali. First of all, Liston did not need to cheat. Liston was a nice fighter. He was one of the toughest warriors in history and he wasn't scared of anyone. This is a boy that knocked out the nice Floyd Patterson in 2 minutes. Then it only took him 5 seconds more in the rematch. He slugged it out in 2 fights with Cleveland Williams. He fought a entire war with a broken jaw and only lost a split decision to Marty Marshall. Second of all, why would Liston test to hack in a war that he was going to throw? There's no doubt something got in Ali's eyes during the fight, but to tell Liston place it there is ridiculous and there is no proof. In the end of the war Townsend tries to create you trust Liston just quit like a spineless bum. I know some folks would love to trust Ali was this mighty boy that overcame Sonny Liston, but let's receive real. That's not the method it was. The film gets to the large moment, the infamous "phantom punch." The stage is so uneventfully done in the film it's pathetic. Townsend never even says you why Liston took a dive in the rematch. He just goes down for no apparent reason. Townsend had the nerve to hold the mob out of that war too. That war was fixed. It looked like even more of a sham than the first fight.This film failed to present Sonny Liston's difficult upbringing. It also failed to present that he really wasn't a terrible guy and that he loved kids and even tried to support folks that were less fortunate. One of the largest slaps in the face to Liston is how they handle his death in the movie. Instead of showing Liston getting murdered they create it look like a suicide. I was fully outraged. I didn't think Townsend should be that dumb. In the film they create it look like Liston was depressed over his girlfriend on the side leaving him, so he does heroine one night. The guy was deathly scared of needles. He never did drugs in his life. Sonny Liston was M-U-R-D-E-R-E-D.You wish the true scoop on Liston, receive the ebook The Devil and Sonny Liston by Nickname Tosches. Nickname Tosches did what Townsend lied about telling he was going to do. Townsend made Liston look like a no nice bum, but that wasn't the true Liston. Townsend could be ashamed of himself. Check out the Tosches book. Avoid this horribly written and directed film at all costs. I do not suggest purchasing it or renting it. It's not even worth watching on TV. I don't think Townsend was taking his job seriously when he made this movie. By the looks of it, it's like he was just fooling around. If you were wondering why this film was never released, you have your answer. The mystery has been solved.


If you wish to see what the true Sonny was all about, watch HBO's documentary "Sonny Liston: The Mysterious Life and Death of a Champion". Its brilliant!! This movie...well not so good. Ving Rhames is nice as usual. Trouble is he may be a tad old for the role, plus he didn't have much to work with here. A lot of what we know about Sonny was historically inaccurate or missing. No harassment from Ali(a young Cassius Clay) before, or after the Patterson rematch. Ali (Clay) made Liston's life hell for over a year before their first fight. No stage detailing Sonny slapping Ali's face in a casino. Not even a mention of his first war vs Marty Marshall. Liston suffered a broken jaw in the fourth round before losing a close 8-round decision. But you wouldn't know it from this film. Sonny was no choirboy nice-guy for sure. But he deserves better than Phantom Punch.


I've seen few films about Muhammad Ali but I have forgotten everything I knew about Sonny Liston from those movies. Reading some of the IMDb comments says me this film might not be saying the entire story. In fact, the comments recommend this film may be wrong about a lot of historical facts about a true person.But forgetting all this, I thought this was quite a nice movie. Ving Rhames gave an Oscar-worthy performance and made me trust there was more to Sonny Liston than the mad boy the globe believed he was. I now didn't know anything about Liston, but once he became famous, it appeared the globe hated him for defeating Floyd Patterson and being such a terrible boy. But he really wasn't so bad, at least not here. Plenty of scenes present him as a gentle boy trying to create a better life for himself. And as difficult as mobsters test to receive him to throw fights, he doesn't appear to wish to.True, he is shown getting violent because someone accuses Geraldine, a girl he genuinely loves, of being a mere hooker.And he is unfaithful to Geraldine. But he really tries to create it up to her. And he doesn't hit her.And Rhames doesn't give the only nice performance. Stacey Dash shows intelligence and determination as the girl Liston loves. Rick Roberts is nice as the prison priest who discovers Liston's tendency to receive into wars should be used constructively. And the nice father follows Liston's career on the outside as well, as he takes a regular church job. Nicholas Turturro does a nice job as the boy who seems to be in charge of Liston's career, but has to respond to higher authorities.There is quite a lot of violence and threats of violence, and I don't mean just in the ring.One very effective stage makes test of slow motion as well as sound editing (that's what I'll call it) that suggests Liston has been hit one too many times and things don't seem real.Most of the melody here is great, and why not? It was set in an era when melody was music. Toward the end, rock and roll was taking over, and there are some signs of that here. But it's Vegas, baby! And Bridgette Wilson-Sampras is quite a singer. Very good-looking too. No wonder Liston was tempted.The film is not without its weaknesses. I never speculated on what was true and what wasn't, but Cassius Clay doesn't even look like Cassius Clay (though neither did Will Smith), and he hardly tells a word. Clay was known for his mouth, and off in the distance we do receive to hear "I am the greatest!". But Clay doesn't brag or test his colourful words. Not in this movie.And I saw a 50-star flag. I've never seen a 48-star flag where the stars weren't in neat rows and columns, so that gotta be what I saw. It was still the 50s at the time.Overall, this was a worthy effort. Unless you wish to say the truth.



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