Sylvester Stallone (Rambo) reprises his role as the renowned Rocky Balboa to train Adnois ‘Donnie’ Creed (Michael B Jordan) in this deep lump-in-the-throat-evoking movie and a great spin-off to the Rocky series. After a lifetime of being a professional boxer, double world heavyweight champion Rocky Balboa is now retired and living in Philly as a quiet restaurant owner. Life throws him a chance to help someone but he’s set in his ways and his help is acquired only after a big push. He helps Adonis Johnson Creed, the son of his adversary turned friend, the late Apollo Creed. Donnie is a very emotionally troubled young man, living in his father’s shadow and being the offspring of a relationship that should never have happened. He believes himself to be a mistake but despite all this, he wants to become a boxer like his father.
His father died in the ring fighting Russian boxer, Ivan Drago in Rocky IV (1985). Regardless of everything that has happened to him, he wants to fight as his father did. The Italian Stallion agrees to become his trainer after much persistence from Donnie as he takes on an opponent that is more vicious and ruthless than anyone he ever faced. Michael B Jordan reprises his partnership with Ryan Coogler who imprints his own dark and sinister mark on this latest installment on the Rocky franchise with this edge-of-your-seat gripping and engaging sports drama. For added realism, real-life British pro boxer and former three-time ABA Heavyweight champion Tony Bellew plays Creed’s ruthless opponent ‘Pretty’ Ricky Conlan.
Michael B Jordan embodies a common trend of today’s black youths but due to no fault of his own. His father died in the ring and he was raised by a single mom. Amongst young people today, young black men who have been in and out of ‘juvy’ have commonly lacked the male role model thus the father figure being absent. Adonis thinks he’s mad at the world but in reality he’s mad at a dead man. He’s emotionally conflicted and living in his father’s shadow. The name, Creed is legendary in the world since everyone knows the name, Apollo Creed, who was world champion, fought against the equally acclaimed Rocky Balboa and died in the ring against Ivan Drago.
Adonis is afraid of taking up the Creed name and losing. He doesn’t want to tarnish the boxing legacy of his father. Who can blame him really? Taking on the name seems more hassle than it’s worth but furthermore, he wants to make it into the industry on his own without the help of his father’s name and accomplishments. He wants to make it without being constantly compared to his father. In short, Donnie doesn’t belive he is worthy. Jordan gives a stellar performance and one of many, in which I hope to be a very long and fruitful career. It’s a shame that the Academy didn’t think as highly as I do; I think he was certainly snubbed of an Oscar nomination, as were many in this Oscar race.
Stallone is a great talent as well, giving a better performance than he did when he won the Oscar for Rocky (1976). It was heartwarming, punchy, emotional and powerful with times of humor yet seriousness. Amusingly, I can understand more of what he says in this movie than in all the previous Rocky movies, no thanks to that accent of his. Rocky tries to be the father that Apollo didn’t have the chance to be. He mentors, fathers and befriends Adonis Creed and truly motivates this rookie boxer into something that could truly be a match to have his father’s name, and be as great as Apollo was, or something even better.
The standout element of this movie is the cinematography from Maryse Alberti (The Wrestler) and superb direction from Ryan Coogler as well. I was on the edge of my seat for most of the movie and especially with the Creed VS Pretty fight at the end of the movie. The way the camera circulates around the pair in the ring is truly something to witness in its infinite glory. The fight was adrenaline fuelled and blood was in abundance on both sides with great uses of time lapses. The fight between Creed and Pretty ends in the same way as Rocky’s first bout with Apollo. It ends with Rocky earning Apollo’s respect and friendship and the same occurs with Donnie. A sequel is in the works I can only hope that Creed wants a rematch with the Scouse champion and that will be for the movie confirmed for 2017.
Ryan Coogler is a formidable talent and has been recruited by Marvel to direct Black Panther (2017) starring Chadwick Boseman (Get On Up) as King T’Challa of Wakanda AKA Black Panther. His direction of Creed is flawless and I truly hope he can bring the same gritty and dark aura to Marvel’s Black Panther.