The former World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Balboa serves as a trainer and mentor to Adonis Johnson, the son of his late friend and former rival Apollo Creed.
Relative newcomer director Ryan Coogler brings the latest boxing film to screens this year with his new film Creed, which tells the story of the son of Apollo Creed from the Rocky films. Almost 40 years following the original film, the Rocky series is still ongoing in some form, and here we see Sylvester Stallone return as Rocky Balboa, almost a decade since his last outing as the character.
Conceptually Creed is an innovative way to continue the series, and it does so in a shared reluctance with its main character in its avoidance to trade on a well-known name. They could have attempted to shoehorn in the word Rocky in the title somehow, but this film sets out to stand on its own merits.
Creed taps into the franchises former life very effectively, with attention to details that mostly harken back to the original film, and it’ll have those franchise fans thinking back to what’s come before quite often. This film ties in its characters and re-uses previous footage to really immerse itself into the setting.
While a reinvention and essential reincarnation for the series to continue, Creed follows the formula of its predecessors quite closely and in doing so serves as a reminder of why the formula is so effective. Other than an entirely new makeover, Creed doesn’t offer anything that is particularly new in a boxing film, what it does do however is deliver one of the best instalments of all the Rocky films.
This is another take on the underdog tale, with inspiring speeches, training montages, personal upheaval, a motivational soundtrack and a character entering the ring with something to prove. The opponents are unlikeable at best, and at times the film piles on the cheese factor that will either have you groaning or cheering in your seat.
All of these things are woven together with care, the pacing throughout the film is solid, and the boxing sequences are both thoroughly engaging and entertaining from beginning to end. The camera work in the ring, the quick cuts, the dynamic choreography, are all exhilarating to watch and it’s impossible not to get caught up in the films momentum by the closing act.
Creed wouldn’t be anywhere near as successful without its two leads Michael B Jordan and Sylvester Stallone, their relationship is the heart of this movie and these two actors work brilliantly together. Jordan is likeable and works hard to win over the audience while Stallone slides into the mentoring/trainer role with a humble modesty that complements Jordan’s performance perfectly.
A few story elements are skimmed over too much, and ultimately you could argue that Creed simply conforms to what’s come before , but there’s no denying how effective it is in what it sets out to achieve and if the series is to continue a while longer in this new format, it’s future is looking bright.
I’m giving Creed 7 out of 10 stars, it’s in cinemas around Australia from 26 November 2015.