One of the BMAF top 10 films of last year was the Boxing movie, Southpaw, which we blogged about. You can read that here: here http://barkingmadaboutfilms.com/southpaw/
We highlighted that in our opinion, at the movies, Boxing seems to be the sport to beat, when looking for great sporting films.
The Fighter; Cinderella Man; Raging Ball; Million Dollar Baby are all great examples of this, but the heavyweight champion of the boxing film world has to be Sylvester Stallone‘s Rocky Balboa stories.
Even the worst, Rocky V is watchable, Rocky III and IV are great films of the Eighties and the sequel is a great follow up, but the original zero to hero story, Rocky was worthy of the Best picture Oscar in 1977
We last saw Rocky in Rocky Balboa, which saw him living modestly back in Philadelphia running a small restaurant, coming out of retirement for one last fight. The ending seemed a fitting way to end the legacy, but the franchise has been rebooted by bringing us Creed, the story of Adonis Johnson (who we learn is the illegitimate son of Apollo Creed, the fighter who turned coach for Rocky and died at the hands of Ivan Drago in Rocky IV)
This is the first of the franchise to not be written by Stallone, instead Writer/Director Ryan Coogler came up with the story and won round the former creator to appear as Rocky one more time.
We first meet Adonis (Michael B. Jordan) in a juvenile centre where he has been held for fighting, we learn that he was born after Apollo lost his life and lost his mother at a young age as well.
Clearly with no strong guidance, he has drifted in and out of homes and got involved with fighting. He is given a new chance of life when Apollo’s wife, Mary Ann Creed (Phylicia Rashad, replacing Sylvia Meals, from the original films. Sylvia has sadly passed away, confirmed by Apollo actor,
@TheCarlWeathers on twitter, hence the recasting) offers to give him a home and new start of life.
We move on again a few years and see Adonis is doing very well for himself at a financial institution, even getting a promotion, but he also has been fighting in Mexico, under the name of Donny Johnson, not wanting to be associated or given breaks, due to his father.
Adonis hands his notice in at work, much to the horror of his adopted Mother and heads to Philadelphia to seek out Rocky, to be a mentor and father figure to him, something he never had.
Of course, Rocky is reluctant at first, but he eventually agrees, as still feels some guilt for not stopping the fight that Apollo died in.
It is the arrival of Stallone’s character that the film also gives nods to the original films, the streets (and those steps) of Philadelphia, The Rocky Statue, Mickey’s gym, chicken chasing and even Rocky’s terrapins Cuff and Link!
Creed even finds time to find a love interest in musician Bianca (Tessa Thompson) and we see his Rocky/Adrian love story develop.
Stallone’s performance has quite rightly been nominated for many awards, he plays the character brilliantly. We feel for him, learning that following the loss of Adrian, Paulie has passed to and we see that the upcoming and retired boxers need each other just as much.
Whilst training at Mickey’s gym, which Rocky has not set foot in for years, questions are raised and it is soon learned that Donny Johnson is actually the son of Apollo. The gym’s top boxer gives Johnson his first pro fight, which he wins and then the secret of his father is released to the world.
This, of course, is noticed by the current champion of the world in Liverpool. He needs a quick fight, as he is facing prison. He offers Johnson a shot at the title, knowing this would be an easy win and great pay day. However, it is on the understanding that Donnie fights as Creed not Johnson!
The film also offers a side storyline for Rocky, which means he also needs to put a strong fight on too.
This is a great film about having to live in the shadow of others and Jordan puts in a fantastic performance, as the struggling Creed. Stallone as the old and wise Coach is simply fantastic and worthy of his best supporting actor Oscar nomination and recent golden globe win.
The final fight sequence at the Everton football ground is as good as any of the other battles from the franchise and you will be cheering for Creed and Rocky to the end.
The film has been a great success, so much so, talks are in place on where to take Creed next, a prequel or sequel to be decided. This also may mean Ivan Drago may get an origin.
If you love the Rocky saga or boxing movies, Creed is definitely worth a watch.
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