SOUL POWER

Documentary of “Zaire ‘74”

Content -1
Quality
None Light Moderate Heavy
Language        
Violence        
Sex        
Nudity        

Release Date: July 10, 2009

Starring: (as themselves) James Brown,
B.B. King, Bill Withers,
Muhammad Ali, and Don King

Genre: Documentary

Audience: Older teenagers and adults

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 92 minutes

Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

Director: Jeffrey Levy-Hinte

Executive Producer: N/A

Producer: Leon Gast and David Sonenberg

Writer: N/A

Address Comments To:

Michael Barker, Tom Bernard and Marcia Bloom
Co-Presidents
Sony Pictures Classics
(Sony Pictures Entertainment)
550 Madison Avenue, 8th Floor
New York, NY 10022
Phone: (212) 833-8833; Fax: (212) 833-8844
Web Page: www.sonyclassics.com; Email: Sony_Classics@spe.sony.com

Content:

(Pa, APAP, C, L, S, N, A, D, M) Somewhat pagan worldview in the world of “soul music” along with many anti-American references by celebrity athlete plus positive Christian content where one group of performers prays before a show; three obscenities, including the “f” word, but no profanities; no violence; no sexual content, though some on-stage dancing is suggestive and man creates a phallic symbol as a joke; upper male nudity and women with bare midriffs and cleavage; drinking of alcohol; smoking; and, some old-fashioned discussion of “Black Power.”.

Summary:

SOUL POWER is a documentary of the days leading up to and the concert by the late James Brown and others as part of the 1974 Ali/Foreman fight in Zaire, Africa. The movie is devoid of most offensive material, but has many ignorant anti-American references from Muhammad Ali, some obscene language, some on-stage suggestive dancing and man creates a phallic symbol as a joke.

Review:

SOUL POWER is a documentary of the days leading up to and the concert by James Brown and others as part of the 1974 Ali/Foreman fight in Zaire. The camera crew follows along as plans are hastily made to stage “Zaire ‘74” which the promoters deem as a chance for African American performers to “return home.”

Much of the movie is behind the scenes footage of James Brown, B.B. King, and other famous performers on the plane, at the hotel and backstage, as well as the promoters and crew building the huge stage for the show. Muhammad Ali is part of the concert events when the fight is postponed six weeks because of an injury to Foreman. The movie’s last half are the onstage performances, which are tremendous. Fans of soul music will not want to miss these.

SOUL POWER is a time capsule of 1974 with its outlandish dress and mannerisms. The production values are solid. The movie is made up completely of the onscreen persons speaking their own words.

The movie is relatively clean, especially given the subject matter. There is much on camera discussion of “black power” and how this concert consists of African Americans returning to the mother “home country.”

Ali takes many on camera moments to say that America is always putting black people down and that America is more violent that Zaire. Of course, in the past six years, Zaire, now called the “Democratic Republic” of the Congo, has suffered a brutal civil war that reportedly has claimed the lives of 5.4 million people, so the ignorant Muslim boxer from Louisville, Kentucky has had to eat his words! America doesn’t look so bad now, does it, Mr. Clay aka Ali? Though Ali won the fight, his opponent, George Foreman, has fared much better since then compared to Ali, who is only a shadow of his former self.

Jesse Jackson’s now famous “I Am Somebody” speech rolls over the end credits. At the very end, the late James Brown appears, telling viewers that they “are somebody.”

It is great to see legends such as B.B. King and James Brown onstage and in their prime. The movie is not overly engaging, but the onstage dances and performances are clearly a highlight.

Please read the content section since there is some obscene language, some on-stage dancing is suggestive and man creates a phallic symbol as a joke.

In Brief:

SOUL POWER is a documentary of the days leading up to and the concert by James Brown and others as part of the 1974 Ali/Foreman fight in Zaire, Africa. The camera crew follows as plans are hastily made to stage “Zaire ’74,” which the promoters deem as a chance for African American performers to “return home.” Much of the movie is behind the scenes footage of James Brown, B.B. King, and other famous performers on the plane, at the hotel, and backstage, as well as the crew building the huge stage for the show.

SOUL POWER is devoid of most offensive material, but contains some obscene language, some suggestive dancing and a phallic symbol as a joke. There is discussion of “black power,” and how the concert is a chance for African Americans to return to the “home country.” Ali takes repeatedly says that America puts black people down and that America is more violent than Zaire. Viewers will enjoy seeing legends such as B.B. King and the late James Brown onstage and in their prime. The movie is not overly engaging, but the onstage dances and performances clearly are a highlight.