Ryan Coogler / Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson / Drama / 2016 / 12A / 133mins
Fuck it, I’ll just say it: this is easily the best Rocky film.
“But nothing can beat the original!” Well, Creed just did mate – sorry. Actually, I shouldn’t apologise, crack director-actor duo Ryan Coogler and Michael B. Jordan should. Their previous venture, Fruitvale Station, was a surprise critical hit in 2013 and they appear to have continued their form.
What Rocky did was pretty much invent an entire film genre – it was in some ways revolutionary and took everyone by surprise, paving the way for such cinematic greats as Raging Bull, The Fighter and Warrior. Obviously, we remember it for making star out of Stallone, he of the archetype rags-to-riches story. The films that followed led to a downward spiral that even the most diligent fans found hard to accept (let’s face it, Rocky IV is just Cold War propaganda). What does Creed bring to the Rocky canon? It brings a return to the original format, akin to how The Force Awakens was similar to A New Hope. It’s not too original in the literal sense of the word, but it gives everyone a fresh start without the complications of a reboot.
I like the whole hyperlink cinema thang goin’ on. Whenever Adonis Creed comes across a new fighter his stats appear beside him: world ranking, fight technique etc. It reminds me of a video game – it has a contemporary feel that fits in with the internet age, where we learn facts instantaneously. Coogler modernises the franchise with aplomb.
WARNING: Stallone actually acts. Yeah, I know, I was shocked myself. His Golden Globe win is debateable, but an Oscar nom? Hmm. This seems more of a send-off for a man whose last nomination was for the same character back in 1977. Some old fans of his seem to have taken pity on him methinks. Not getting on the #OscarsSoWhite train or anything, but Michael B. Jordan should have been nominated. I thought he was damn good and at least on a par with Stallone. Tony Bellew as Ricky Conlan – the less said about him the better. They’ve recruited a lairy Liverpudlian and rolled with it because he’s got eyes that burn into your soul and the American masses will barely understand a word he’s saying – therefore he’s evil! Burn him at the stake! Although some might argue that’s good stereotype-casting, especially by American standards, and fits the typical Rocky rival cliché, he’s still off the pace of those around him.
The shots are great, the choreography is great, and the acting isn’t too shabby. It’s cheesy, but I enjoyed it – who doesn’t love a Rocky film? I doubt it will win any Oscars. But that Golden Globe for Stallone has got me thinking he could nick one.
Reinvents and reinvigorates the Rocky franchise.
Film as a Film – 3 / Target Audience – 4 / General Audience – 3
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The poster art copyright is believed to belong to the distributor of the film, Warner Bros., the publisher of the film or the graphic artist. Sourced via Wikipedia.