An aging boxer and his young protege, the son of his former friend/rival….
TRAVEL TO RUSSIA TO BEAT THE EVER LOVING SHIT OUT OF THAT DIRTY ROTTEN SOVIET COMMIE IVAN DRAGO AS PAYBACK FOR KILLING APOLLO IN ROCKY IV! USA! USA! USA!
OK. So that wasn’t the plot. But it really should have been. Totally would have been had I written it. Maybe that’s why Sly never takes my calls.
Bookshelf Q. Battler here with a review of Creed.
When it comes to the seventh installment of a film series chronicling the lives of people who beat the crap out of each other, “good writing” is a phrase you’d think would not come to mind.
You’d be wrong. Stallone has done it again.
When Rocky Balboa came out in 2006, I thought Stallone was scraping the bottom of the barrel then. But then I watched it. Rocky’s challenge in that film wasn’t to win, it was just to stay alive as an old timer in the ring for one last go around.
In that movie, he delivered a speech to his son that sums up the whole series, i.e. “life will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it.”
Rocky’s always been about trying. Yoda said “Do or do not, there is no try.” Rocky said, “Try.” Shut up Yoda.
Anyway, move forward nine years, I thought Stallone was REALLY reaching by putting out yet another film but low and behold, he’s done it again.
THE SETUP: Adonis Johnson aka Adonis Creed is the illegitimate son of famous boxing legend Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers, who you might also remember as the only tough guy in Predator who didn’t go on to become a state governor).
He grew up in two separate worlds. After his mother’s death, he ended up on the streets, scrapping with the other boys and landing himself in juvenile detention.
Enter Apollo’s wife, Mary Anne (played by Phylicia Rashad – Mrs. Huxtable in a movie!) who out of the kindness of her heart, adopts Adonis, even though he’s the product of her late husband’s extramarital hi jinx.
But you can’t dump on Apollo too much for not being there for Adonis. Fans of the series know that in Rocky IV, Apollo died at the hands of that roid raging commie Ivan Drago, but Goddamnit, he died for America. He died so Rocky could challenge Drago to a rematch and win in the name of capitalism. Suck it, Soviets.
That was the last movie I remember Brigitte Nielsen being hot in, come to think of it.
Anyway, Adonis then moves on to the good life with Mary Anne, who lives in a mansion because unlike that dumbass Rocky, she didn’t let a degenerate moron like Pauly manage her family’s finances. God you suck, Pauly.
All this leads to Adonis being very confused. He wants to step out of the shadow of a famous father he never knew. He wants to prove himself. Be his own man. He avoids using Creed’s name.
He wants to be a boxer but no one will train him…because he doesn’t HAVE to be a boxer. Boxing, as various people tell him, is a sport for people who don’t have any other shot at the good life. Adonis has a wealthy benefactor mother. He doesn’t need to get his face punched for a living.
Or does he? Financially, he doesn’t. Mentally, he does. He wants glory and thus he journeys to Philly and pesters elderly Rocky to become his Mickey..err, manager.
But it’s not easy to make it as a Creed. Whatever success Adonis finds, people attribute it to a father he never knew. And there are people who want to take advantage of his famous last name. All the while, there are people who accuse him of coming from privilege which he views as unfair. Mary Anne may have saved him, but he never lost the hunger of a kid growing up on the streets.
There’s even a subplot in which Adonis falls in love with a female musician with progressive hearing loss…i.e. she’s trying to become a famous singer before she can’t hear herself sing anymore. Stop! Stop! I can’t handle all this sadness!
It was great. It really was. Stallone has gone to the well twice now in a series that by all rights, jumped the shark in Rocky 5 (the one where Rocky has a street fight with ‘Tommy Gunn.'” Boo! Worst Rocky ever!
Michael B. Jordan proves his acting chops. I’d like to see more from Tessa Thompson, who plays Adonis’ girlfriend.
I will say this. If its the last film in the Rocky series, its a worthy ending. If it isn’t, I have no clue where Rocky could go from here, though I really feel that my “Rocky and Adonis go to Russia to beat the shit out of elderly Ivan Drago” could be a worthy contender.
Have your people call my people, Sly. I’ll totally write that screenplay for you.