After iron man Drago, a highly intimidating 6-foot-5, 261-pound Soviet athlete, kills Apollo Creed in an exhibition match, Rocky comes to the heart of Russia for 15 pile-driving boxing rounds of revenge.
Adonis Johnson is the son of the famous boxing champion Apollo Creed, who died in a boxing match in Rocky IV (1985). Adonis wasn't born until after his father's death and wants to follow his fathers footsteps in boxing. He seeks a mentor who is the former heavyweight boxing champion and former friend of Apollo Creed, the retired Rocky Balboa. Rocky eventually agrees to mentor Adonis. With Rocky's help they hope to get a title job to face even deadlier opponents than his father. But whether he is a true fighter remains to be seen.... Written by
Towards the end of the movie. After Adonis Johnson (Creed) shows up at Bianca's apartment door, the top dead bolt is already in the unlocked position (north to south). Adonis and Bianca continue to dialogue and the dead bolt remains in the same position. Yet just before Bianca finally let's Adonis in, the dead bolt is suddenly in the locked position (east to west) and Bianca ends up unlocking it (north to south) to let him in. See more »
Hey Donnie, you moving?
Yeah I'm going to be living with my uncle for a little bit.
[Referring to Rocky]
That's your uncle? He's white!
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Only movie in the Rocky series which Stallone didn't get top-billing. See more »
As a boxing movie Creed packs a heavyweight punch.
Sylvester Stallone (as the film's producer) has covered a lot of miles with his Rocky legend, most recently with his 2006 Rocky Balboa. As such I had thought there was little milk left in the cash cow, but "Creed" proves me wrong. This time, with Stallone's advancing years, he wisely doesn't stretch credibility by having Rocky Balboa as the center of the pugilism, but hands the baton to young contender Adonis ("Donnie") Creed (Michael B Jordan). Adonis is the illegitimate son of Apollo Creed, Rocky's protagonist and later close friend in the first four Rocky films.
Donnie is a kid from the wrong side of the tracks with a big chip on his shoulder and a reputation for finding trouble with his fists. Brought back from the brink by Apollo's wife (a touching performance by Phylicia Rashad) Donnie can't escape his family legacy and seeks Balboa's help to make it in the ring, using his own adopted name. Balboa's help leads to a number of 'traditionally' brutal Rocky-style encounters in the ring.
I must admit I don't normally 'go' for boxing films like this, but this is extremely well done. All of the boxing training is gritty and believable and the actual bouts, particularly the classic finale, is suitably thrilling and a technical masterpiece of camera-work (hats off to cinematographer Maryse Alberti, who also filmed "The Wrestler" so is no stranger to the ring).
A real surprise is just how good Stallone is in the role. There are scenes where Stallone really has to act particularly an emotional locker-room scene when Rocky faces up to his own personal crisis and any jokes about Sylvester "Expendables" Stallone's acting abilities are forgotten. Michael B Jordan is also a great find and a name to watch. He has to cover a wide range during the film and succeeds admirably.
Tessa Thompson, impressive in last year's "Selma", makes a similarly positive impression here playing the love interest in the form of songstress Bianca, with a difficult future ahead of her.
"Creed" is a love letter to the old Rocky films, and with this quality, and likely success the start of a whole new generation of films seems probable. The respect it shows to the originals is characterized by a moving tribute to the classic 'Philadelphia steps' scene that brings a genuine lump to the throat. That being said, the film is a lot more 'street' for a new generation, with a soundtrack (by Swedish composer Ludwig Göransson) that mixes rap and hip-hop with more classic orchestral elements. Without outright plagiarism of Bill Conti's classic score, Göransson subtly weaves in some of Conti's themes, notably Adrian's theme, as well as coming up with his own "Fly Now"- equivalent musical high-point.
Impressive direction is by Ryan Cooglar in only his second feature film (after Fruitvale Station, also with Michael B Jordan). Cooglar also wrote the story and co-wrote the script. Without any spoilers, the story is delightfully 'un-Hollywood" by being unpredictable in where it goes. However, an area for criticism is that it took a few 'easy' short-cuts in places: a particular 'change of heart' in the film is way to glib and quick.
Finally, i would love to watch this film in a cinema in Liverpool, when the "hallowed turf" for a bout is revealed as being Everton's ground, Goodison Park .! Generations of Liverpool FC fans will be turning in their graves and I predict that cinemas in the city could become scenes of the worst hand to hand combat since the finale of Kingsman!
(Please see the graphical version of this review at bob-the-movie- man.com. Thanks.)
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