Creed Movie Review: 7th Round TKO

rsz_creed_philly_sceneCould Creed be the greatest Rocky sequel of all time?  Rotten Tomates and IMDB both rank the film higher than any previous Rocky film since 1976’s original classic.   Six sequels into the Rocky movie franchise, Sylvester Stallone dramatically changes roles.  No longer is Sly, the lead actor or even the screenwriter (for the first time), instead Rocky becomes a mentor, aka Yoda, to up-and-coming light heavyweight, Adonis Johnson.    Written by Ryan Coogler and Aaron Covington, the film tells the story of a troubled teen getting in fights in juvenile detention and illegal Mexican bar brawls as a young adult.   We quickly learn he’s the illegitimate son of Apollo Creed who dreams of a career in the ring.

Michael B. Jordan, star of  the critically acclaimed 2014 film, Fruitville Station, and TV roles in The Wire and Friday Night Lights, embodies Creed’s underdog spirit and drive.    Not interested in cashing in on his father’s illustrious name in the boxing world, Adonis keeps his last name, Johnson, and heads to Philly to see if Apollo Creed’s greatest rival, Rocky Balboa, would train him.   Seeing Stallone as a curmudgeonly old man is shocking at first, but it feels natural and we fall in love with the chemistry between the aged champion and the young fighter who reminds Balboa of his early hunger to live his dreams.

Creed’s writers had a tough decision to make:  how to stay faithful to the Rocky franchise but excite modern audiences.   The film wholeheartedly succeeds on both levels.    There are so many nods to the past including a chicken chase, Mickey’s gym, scenes of Apollo Creed, and the famous run up the steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum.   But the new film adds a twist to each memory.   The story line between Adonis and Bianca, a young R&B club singer, will remind you of the sweet chemistry between Rocky and Adrian.   Like the original Rocky, this is not a boxing movie, it’s a story of HEART, drive, honest emotions (both good and bad), and the struggle to survive and succeed.   Creed sets the stage for a franchise of its own and deserves a sequel to continue the heartwarming story.

Grade   10 out of 10

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