“A great fighter once said it ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward.”
This statement made by rising contender Adonis ‘Hollywood’ Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) is the driving force behind director Ryan Coogler’s Creed, and will move audiences to cheer loudly as this young fighter makes his play to define his own legacy. Here’s the synopsis:
Adonis Johnson Creed (Jordan), the illegitimate son of former World Champion Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), is determined to follow in his father’s footsteps. It’s this motivation that brings him to Philadelphia where he meets his father’s former opponent and best Friend Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) to request his help to become champion.
While fans of the Rocky film series are sure to line up for this epic spin off, Creed is very much a unique and strong contender in its own right. Here’s five reasons to watch:
5. All in the ring
Creed is firmly about the culture of fighting, and the physical, mental, and spiritual strength that it requires to be a fighter. All of this leads to some incredible ring footage courtesy of Coogler and his cinematographer Maryse Alberti. With the use of well-defined steadicam footage audiences will feel every punch that is pulled, and every smack that comes Adonis’ way. Coogler also continues a long time tradition of filling the Rocky films with real fighters including Tony Bellew, Andre Ward and Gabriel Rosado.
4. Philly: the city of brotherly love
Playing a larger role in the film’s events is the city of Philadelphia, which comes to serve as Adonis’ training ground, and inspires his connection with Rocky Balboa. Coogler demonstrates his understanding of the significance that Philadelphia plays within the Rocky franchise, and utilises well-known landmarks and events made famous by the previous films, while finding new ways to shine a light on their importance to Adonis’ growth as a fighter.
3. Sylvester Stallone: The Italian Stallion
The legendary Sylvester Stallone has returned as former two-time world champion Rocky Balboa and while it’s been a number of years since his final bout against Mason Dixon, he’s still mourning the loss of his wife Adrian, and now his best friend Paulie. While the arrival of Adonis sparks a renewed interest in his life, Rocky still has his own personal battles to fight, and once again this underdog rises to the challenge with a new ally in his corner. Stallone effortlessly channels the local neighborhood hero we’ve come to know and love, and slips into his role as a Adonis’ mentor pretty fast. It’s a change of pace for audiences seeing Rocky as a trainer rather than at the punching bag, but Stallone has the gravitas, knowledge, and respect to convincingly pull off Rocky in this new phase.
2. A new interpretation
Director Ryan Coogler has openly commented that he is a lifelong fan of the Rocky series. With Creed, he brings us a familiar tale in a whole new light that extends the franchise with terrific new possibilities. Drawing from his own real life experience as an athlete to shape Adonis journey, and his working relationship with Michael B. Jordan which was formed on the phenomenal Fruitvale Station, Coogler really pulls the audience into the film through Adonis’ solid character arc from back alley punk to contender. At all times the audience feels the respect that Coogler gives to Stallone, while still making the film is own with solid directing and total control over the story.
1. Michael B. Jordan: fighting for his name
At the centre of Creed is the phenomenal talent that is Michael B. Jorden, a young thespian who is slowly but surely proving that he has the chops to become one of the greatest acting forces of his generation. With absolute commitment Jordan jumps head first into the role of Adonis, and channels the resentment and anger he feels as Apollo Creed’s illegitimate son. His only way to overcome that is to fight, and Jordan does this with grit and determination. Adonis’ journey and quest for purpose is easily identifiable, and audiences will cheer him on as he fights to make his own legacy a reality.
Image source: Roadshow Films.