This Sporting Life – Two Super Sports Docs You Need To See
If there’s one thing that the world of sports seems to specialise in, it’s show-stopping real-life stories – which is why it’s such a rich source for dynamite documentaries. And, sure enough, there’s a pair just landed on Virgin Movies that are simply unmissable!
The hardest hands in boxing, and the biggest mouth in tennis, they both left indelible marks throughout their careers; in the ring and on the court, yes, but in wider life too! So buckle up for a double-dose of true-life tremendousness – starting with the man they called Hands of Stone…
I AM DURAN
His brutal knockout power was legendary; his ‘No Más’ incident against Sugar Ray Leonard equally well-known. A Panamanian icon, and one of the most celebrated boxers in the world, Roberto Duran is an enduring name in a sport that’s never short of history-makers.
That’s reflected, then, in this new documentary about the life and times of the four-weight champion. It features his own reflections, of course, but also those of so many who were influenced by him – from fellow fighters Mike Tyson and Lennox Lewis to Sylvester Stallone and Robert de Niro.
While his sporting prowess is given its due, the film is perhaps best when illustration how his reach went far beyond the ropes. At a time of great polical and civil unrest in his home country, Duran was a cultural symbol. This doc does a note-perfect job of telling that complicated story, leaving us with a complete image of one of the most interesting characters to ever compete in the sport.
And if it’s another interesting character you fancy – well, step on the court…
JOHN MCENROE: IN THE REALM OF PERFECTION
Some will always remember John McEnroe as a precocious talent. Others will recall a tempestuous brat. Nobody who saw the American on court, though, could ever forget him!
That’s why this essay-film, using archive footage of McEnroe’s mid-80s progress at the French Open, such a phenomenal watch; viewers are seeing, up-close and in painstaking detail, one of the most iconic performers in sporting history – with zero by way of embellishment.
That means taking the good with the bad, of course – and McEnroe was always guaranteed to supply plenty of each! And so, we witness his brilliance across the clay court – followed by his ill-tempered rants at umpires; perfect forehands backed up by scornful scowls down the camera lens.
It’s an absorbing portrait of a unique athlete – and has us right in the mood for Wimbledon already! That witty wisecracker on the BBC? Turns out he was a little different back in the day…
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