Boxing gave us the best and worst sports movies of the year
This is an article from the Dec. 28, 2015 issue
Creed may be, in essence, Rocky VII, but director Ryan Coogler's dynamic, richly textured film is thrillingly fresh, full of speed and pop. As Adonis Johnson, son of Rocky's late friend and rival Apollo Creed, the impressively athletic Michael B. Jordan (near right) displays a real fighter's blend of grit and gentleness.
And in this corner ... Southpaw. Jake Gyllenhaal gives a passionate performance as star-crossed light heavyweight champ Billy Hope, but the film is little more than a ploddingly predictable assemblage of genre clichés. In the obligatory big--bout finale Billy lands an all-redemptive left uppercut, prompting a ringside TV commentator to bellow, "Who would have seen this coming?!" The answer, alas, is anyone who's ever seen a boxing movie.