Packs a powerful punch
CREED (M) Director: Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station) Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tony Bellew, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad Verdict: Main attraction a knockout, but so is the undercard
YOU would think that by round seven of a marathon stint in the movie-boxing ring that began in 1976, Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky franchise would be dead on its feet.
Well, don’t go throwing in the towel on all things Rocky Balboa just yet.
Creed not only deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the Oscar-winning original (something which cannot be said of any other Rocky sequel). It is also a cracking crowd-pleaser of a drama when assessed on its own merits.
Those who know their old Rocky movies will recognise the title as a shout-out to the champ’s fiercest rival, the late, great Apollo Creed.
All you really need to know about this new Rocky movie is that it will be Apollo’s little-known illegitimate son Adonis (Michael B. Jordan) who will be taking his shot at a world champion belt.
So where does old Rocky Balboa himself (played with endearing good humour and poignancy by Stallone) tie in to all of this malarkey? He’ll be the kid’s trainer, of course. And he won’t be doing it strictly by the book.
Neither will Creed when it truly counts. Sure, it has a formula to adhere to, but it is how and when its familiar elements are added that will score highly with many judges.
The X factor working hard and effectively in Creed’s favour is its little-known lead actor, Michael Jordan. He is guaranteed to become a major star after this, and not just because of his prowess in fight scenes. Jordan owns a rare screen charisma that keeps a viewer believing, even when they shouldn’t.
There’s no better example of this ability than the career track record of the young pug he is playing: Adonis is going toe-to-toe with the best fighter in the world in what is only his second, properly sanctioned professional bout.
Need any further justification for the price of admission to Creed? Just get a load of its spectacular closing stoush, in which Adonis puts his dooks up to a Brit brute named “Pretty Ricky” Conlan (real-life boxer Tony Bellew).
It is not for me to reveal whether the skirmish will last its allotted 12 rounds. However, you should know it is 120 times the spectacle of that awful Mayweather-Pacquiao farce.
Now showing Village Cinemas