ROCKY OF AGES
Seconds out, round seven! Ryan Coogler takes us behind the scenes of his entry in the Rocky franchise.
THE YEAR 2015 WAS uncharacteristically good for films numbered seventh in a franchise. The Force Awakens returned the Jedi to critical and commercial success, while Fast & Furious 7 stands as one of the best in its series. And then there’s the seventh film to feature Rocky Balboa — named Creed to honour its new leading character and signify a passing of the torch. But make no mistake, this is recognisably a Rocky film, from the gritty Philly gyms to the back-to-basics training that again (back by popular demand) includes chasing a chicken.
As with the best of Stallone’s series (which this ranks alongside), director Ryan Coogler and his writing partner Aaron Covington opt for emotional realism over chest-beating jingoism. Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan), son of Apollo, love interest Bianca (Tessa Thompson) and Rocky all have their crosses to bear — this is a human drama set in the world of boxing, rather than a boxing film adhering to sports-movie clichés. As it should be. é
Given the weighty legacy of the series and the surprise factor of its return (Stallone said he was done after 2006’s Rocky Balboa), the extras are infuriatingly slight. Two featurettes hint at the fascinating backstory, but are content to use bland talking heads in lieu of genuine insight. Although the mostly skippable deleted scenes include Bianca revealing a fun theory that the fight in the opening credits of
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