Dun dun dunnnnn. Dun DUN DUNNNNNNN. That is my impression of the main Rocky theme, you’re welcome.
I first saw Rocky about 5 or 6 years ago. I was pretty late to the game. But I liked it for what it was. I didn’t see any of the other films until this summer, in preparation for Creed. And since I never had to review any of those films for the site, here are reviews of 2-6.
Rocky II was hilarious, because half of the movie was Sylvester Stallone rambling about whatever comes to his head. He clearly is showing he has severe brain damage and Adrian apparently thinks his mental handicap is cute.
Rocky III gave us Hulk Hogan and Mr. T. It was okay, gave us the best montage fun with Apollo and Rocky though.
Rocky IV was my most quoted film, while I had only seen the fight between Creed and the Russian. It had a fantastic ending, where Rocky single-handedly defeated Communism and Robot Boxers.
Rocky V was steaming shit. What a terrible movie. Why the fuck was this made?
Rocky Balboa was 16 years after Rocky V, a sadder tale about an old man coming out of retirement to prove he wasn’t a pushover. And well, I honestly didn’t like it at all. Was a very different tone and was night time half the film, and just mehhhh. What a waste.
Kind like my thoughts when I saw that MJB was starring in the new Fantastic Four. What a waste.
And now there is Creed. They might have called it Rocky VII, but that one if it ever exists will have to be called Adrian’s Revenge.
Turns out Apollo wasn’t faithful. He had an affair out of wedlock and Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) was born. However, he wasn’t born until after Apollo died in the ring, so he never had a chance to meet his father. His mother died when he was young, so he was passed around the foster care and juvie system, always getting into fights, until about 10 or 11. That is when Mary Anne Creed (Phylicia Rashad) found him. She, somehow, found out about the affair and the kid, and since she heard the news, she wanted to adopt him so he can learn about his father and grow up in the proper lifestyle.
Now years later, Adonis is fighting in Tijuana, Mexico, trying to be a boxer like his dad, but in secret. Fuck real jobs, real responsibilities. He just wants to punch people in the face.
He wants to punch people so badly, but no one will give him a chance in LA. So he heads to Philadelphia. He goes to see Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone). Rocky is old, managing a restaurant, with no real family to worry about. He doesn’t want to. But he realizes that he might be the only real father figure that Adonis will ever have.
Even better, he doesn’t want people to know he is Creed’s son. He wants to become a fighter on his own, not by legacy. That’s good news. Fuck it. Let’s train the kid.
Oh and Adonis of course meets a lady. Bianca (Tessa Thompson), a soulful musician who is also slowly losing her hearing.
Also featuring Ritchie Coster, Tony Bellew, Graham McTavish and Wood Harris as various fighters/coaches. And a dude who looks a hell of a lot like Edward James Olmos. I have no idea who he is, but he was in the movie a lot as their team doctor guy, had no lines, but I couldn’t find out who he was on the IMDB page, because it was very badly laid out order wise. It might be Olmos. It might be a weird cameo.
You might be able to tell by his shorts that someone eventually let’s the name secret out of the bag.
Creed featured four montages. FOUR. Three of them training, and one a fight montage. All of that exists, but we don’t see Michael B. Jordan splashing the dying corpse of Sylvester Stallone. A shame. More movies need playful beach splashing.
In terms of themes and atmosphere, Creed is a bit closer to Rocky Balboa, but it is also a lot more entertaining. The best shot moment was during the “mid film” fight, where the entire thing was one long shot. Multiple rounds, corner talk, the whole shebang. It was wonderful. I figured they would do that for the final fight as well, but we had to settle with the walk from the waiting room to the ring to be the one long shot.
With Creed, they clearly want to turn it into a new franchise, since Stallone can’t possibly un-retire from boxing for the 50th time and the son route didn’t work out. Creed had some nice moments in the fights and I felt appropriate at the ending, but I don’t like a lot of elements as well.
For whatever reason, Rocky himself doesn’t have as much brain damage as he did in Rocky II, and they are making him progressively more and more normal. You wouldn’t expect that with age. SLIGHT SPOILER, but they make it so that Rocky also has a health concern. I won’t say what, I will say that it, again, has nothing to do with brain damage. It feels like an incredibly bull shit side plot, when they have perfectly reasonable and obvious health issues they could have instead brought in.
The back story for Adonis felt a bit shitty too. It seemed like they had to jump through hoops to get the backstory they wanted, again, over complicating it. The story was also incredibly inconsistent with Adonis’ feelings. He wanted to make it big without using the Creed name to get him by, but instead be a good fighter on his own. Mary Anne also had the same feelings, but apparently they both just figured they should get over it and embrace it, making some of his earlier journey feel a bit dishonest.
Oh well. Some good fights. And Michael B. Jordan was great in it. This should fix his career back up again quite nicely.
2 out of 4.