January 19, 2016

Creed (2015)

Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone

Whenever I watch sports movies, I always wonder: is the action genuinely good, or is it just because I'm not enough of an expert to know what good form looks like? I can't bear to watch tennis movies because as the only sport I've ever played at a high level, it's painfully easy to recognize how terrible Hollywood actors (and the horrible body doubles they hire) are at it. But basketball and football? Unless someone is terrible awkward, the slow-mo and cut scenes are enough for me to always believe the players are good at what they do.

I wonder this because Michael B. Jordan looks like he can throw a real punch. He is ripped. He is fit. And most importantly, he looks like an actual boxer. Hollywood loves to see physical transformations in actors and this definitely qualifies. Sure, Jordan still embodies the same "tough guy from the streets" role he played on both Parenthood and Fruitvale Station, but now he has the body to match it! ;)

All joking and fawning over his physique aside, he actually does a really fantastic job. Jordan is very good at balancing this tough guy persona with a deeper, sensitive side. He doesn't even look awkward when he cries, which is a really big deal because I don't know the last time I saw someone who wasn't a terrible crier. And even though he's matched with the iconic Rocky Balboa aka Sylvester Stallone, Jordan holds his own and commands the movie as if it were his own. Which it is. Because it's called Creed. But it could've easily gone awry with the nostalgic Rocky montages and music.

Speaking of Sly... he too is believable as an old boxer. Between his accent and his slow speech, it's becoming increasingly easy to buy him as a guy who's been hit to head hundreds of time. That sounds like an insult, but I mean it as a sort of a compliment: Rocky still has a valid and believable place in this movie, despite this being a spin-off with new characters. I mean, it's the SEVENTH Rocky movie and I'm still not sick of his character yet. That's got to be worth something. (Apparently, a Golden Globe.)

Final word: If only real boxing matches were this entertaining.

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