A franchise is born – ★★★★
They stopped putting Roman numerals after the fifth Rocky making number sixth simply Rocky Balboa. So where do you go from there? Creed is the answer and if this first instalment is anything to go by there may be many more missions for this son of Apollo.
Michael Jordan (not that one) plays Adonis Johnson the illegitimate son of Apollo Creed. Adonis has been in and out of foster homes and has no one to watch over him until Apollo’s wife, Mrs. Huxtable (Phylicia Rashad) takes him in and provides a life he never thought possible. We flash forward and see that while Adonis has a regular nine to five it’s fighting on the side that gives him a real sense of fulfilment. The fact he’s lead a pampered life having left his young street life behind makes him seem weak in his home town of L.A. so he quits and heads for Philadelphia in search of the one trainer he feels will give him a chance – Rocky. Cue the music.
Rocky is living out a quiet existence running a restaurant and keeping well clear of the boxing circuit. Adonis pleads with Rocky to help him train implying that he owes it to his father Apollo. Rocky finally concedes and takes the kid under his wing giving rise to the first of many montages. Also taking place outside the ring is a very believable love story between Adonis and Bianca (Tessa Thompson) a blossoming singer who lives down stairs and has a hearing problem just like old Mick. So as we progress through the film all our ducks are slowly lining up; montages,a love interest, montages, a kid with something to prove, montages, surmountable hurdles and one final montage for good measure.
The performances are great from all concerned and it’s certainly Stallone’s best, never has his stilled diction seemed more appropriate. The emotion he manages to evoke throughout the film is spellbinding. Director Ryan Coogler has well surpassed his first effort Fruitvale Station and having also written the piece he manages to make cheesy lines poignant and weighty. The use of Tony Bellew, a real English boxer, gives the film both a daft and yet authentic touch. The fight sequences are expertly choreographed squeezing every last bit of tension.
Steeped in the mythology and legacy of Rocky so much so you can almost hear Mickey shouting in your ear and taste the blood, sweat and tears. Creed at the heart is a Rocky film, a homage even or amalgamation of all the best bits from the previous six outings but it’s also a passing of the gloves to a new generation, a new hero for kids and fans to admire. Cue the steps.
Creed opens Friday 15th of January 2016