Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - GOODMOVIES -

AD­MIT it. When you heard an­other Rocky movie was com­ing out – a sev­enth – you thought, really? How many Rocky movies do we need?

Well, it turns out we needed seven. At least.

From its very be­gin­ning in 1976, the Rocky story has been about prov­ing you be­long in the ring – not win­ning, nec­es­sar­ily, but show­ing you have the cred to be there in the first place. That’s why Rocky told Adrian: “All I wanna do is go the dis­tance.”

And so Creed, di­rected by the tal­ented Ryan Coogler and star­ring a fairly ir­re­sistible team of Michael B Jor­dan and (of course) Sylvester Stallone, shows it be­longs in the ring from the first mo­ments. With a deftly crafted blend of smarts and corn,it earns our trust: It’s gonna go right to the edge with the heart­string-tug­ging, but it won’t go over. So we can re­lax. We won’t hate our­selves in the morn­ing.

And when the old Rocky mu­sic be­gins play­ing, as it in­evitably will at a key mo­ment, we’ll be able to laugh – hap­pily, and not scorn­fully. The movie’s earned it.

Stallone is now 69, and Creed wisely doesn’t at­tempt to get Rocky Bal­boa back into the box­ing gloves. This film’s about an­other fighter: young Ado­nis John­son, whom we first meet as a child in a LA ju­ve­nile de­ten­tion cen­tre. Life has been hard; he’s the se­cret il­le­git­i­mate son of box­ing great Apollo Creed – Rocky’s for­mer neme­sis, of course – who died be­fore Ado­nis was born. But fate smiles on the boy when Creed’s widow (Phyli­cia Rashad) takes him in.

Seven­teen years later, Ado­nis (Jor­dan, ex­ud­ing charisma and star power at ev­ery turn) is liv­ing in a man­sion with mom and thriv­ing at a fi­nance job. But he can’t shake his pas­sion for box­ing. He heads to Philadel­phia to find the Ital­ian Stal­lion. Ado­nis wants to train with the best. Rocky, now grey, griz­zled and weary, de­clines at first. “Why,” he wants to know, “would you pick a fighter’s life when you don’t need to?” (Ado­nis’ mother’s re­sponse was even more force­ful: “Do you want brain dam­age?”) But Ado­nis wins Rocky over. The clash be­tween Rocky’s old-school ways and Ado­nis’ mod­ern ex­is­tence is ap­par­ent.


HANDY TIPS: Sylvester Stallone as Rocky and Michael B Jor­dan as Ado­nis John­son in

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