Will Smith plays the father of the Williams sisters in King Richard, a slick but ultimately uninteresting biopic.


Will Smith plays the father of the Williams sisters in this slick but ultimately uninteresting biopic.

Will Smith is amusing as the obstinate and ambitious father of tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams – but don’t expect any hard-hitting action.

King Richard is a film that is unsure of what it wants to be.

It’s a biopic of sorts about Richard Williams (Will Smith), the famously obstinate and ambitious father of Venus and Serena Williams, two of the most famous tennis players of all time, though it doesn’t focus on him enough.

It’s also a biopic about Venus (Saniyya Sidney) and Serena (Demi Singleton), though it doesn’t let us get close enough to them, resulting in a slick but bland film that feels like it was plagiarized from Wikipedia.

We first meet Richard on the shoddy courts of Compton, California, where he is training the two young girls himself, complete with aggressive ne’er-do-wells who lust after his teenage daughters, play gangsta rap, and beat up Richard just in case he thinks he is better than them.

He, in fact, does it.

“The world has never had no respect for Richard Williams,” he tells his five children as they ride around in their rusted minivan.

The film focuses a lot on the racism that the Williams family faced in tennis, from all-white tennis clubs sneering at Venus and Serena’s outfits to coaches and agents dismissing them for daring to play outside the box.

“Have you ever considered basketball?” one inquires.

It’s refreshing to see Smith in a more low-key role (the entire film is streamed online), exuding a strange mix of entitled fury and humility.

However, as Richard continues to follow his own rules (firing John McEnroe’s coach, withdrawing the girls from the Juniors circuit, the only historic route to stardom, because he wants them to have a normal childhood), the stakes seem to be lowered rather than raised.

We don’t get to know the girls very well, so the emotional pull fades as the prize approaches.

Williams’ tyrannical methods appear to have had no repercussions; estranged sons are mentioned briefly before being forgotten.

The title’s Shakespearian allusion isn’t accurate.

UK news summary from Infosurhoy

Will Smith stars as the Williams sisters’ father in King Richard, a slick but ultimately uninteresting biopic.

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King Richard, review: Will Smith stars as father of the Williams sisters in a slick yet somehow bland biopic

King Richard Film Still Warner Brothers

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