Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Movie Night – 'Creed' brings punch similar to 'Rocky' (Dec. 9, 2015 issue)

Sometimes you go to the theater with high expectations but end up leaving sorely disappointed. Then there are those times when you go to the movies not expecting much and instead you find a hidden gem. Those diamonds in the rough more than make up for all of the disappointments. “Creed” is one of those hidden gems.
Everyone knows the story of Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), the Italian Stallion. Rocky rose from nothing to become the heavyweight champion of the world based on hard work and limitless determination. One of his greatest triumphs was over Apollo Creed. In Rocky’s world Apollo was likely the greatest boxer who ever lived. Unfortunately, Apollo died in the ring in “Rocky IV.” No one knew at the time that Apollo had a mistress who was pregnant with his illegitimate son.
Fast-forward 30 years and Apollo’s son, who goes by the name of Adonis “Donnie” Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) wants to be a fighter. Donnie’s mother died while he was at a young age and he began bouncing around between foster homes and juvenile detention centers until he was taken in by Mary Anne Creed (Phylicia Rashad), Apollo’s widow. Donnie wants to be a boxer, after all, he feels like he has been fighting his whole life.
Donnie knows that he should seek out the best trainer, so he moves to Philadelphia and approaches Rocky. Rocky has been out of the boxing game for a long time. He runs a small restaurant named after his late wife. He has a simple existence that doesn’t involve boxing. He’s reluctant to be involved in the boxing world again, but eventually relents and agrees to be Donnie’s trainer.
The bulk of the movie centers around Donnie’s training and the ups and downs that occur both in and out of the ring as he inches closer and closer to a professional boxing career. He will fight as Adonis Johnson because he refuses to use the Creed name.
The biggest surprise of the movie is Stallone. His abilities as an actor got lost somewhere along the way over the years. Stallone’s performance in “Creed” is phenomenal. By the time the movie begins Rocky is an old man just trying to enjoy the final years of his life after all his friends and family are dead and gone. Stallone did something I wasn’t sure he could do, he stole the show without guns, explosions, or hand-to-hand combat. He simply turned in a great acting performance.
Another surprising aspect of “Creed” is that it’s so emotional. Sure, it has the triumphant moments that you expect from a boxing movie, but the movie also hits just about every emotional button. It was unexpectedly sad in some parts, sad in a good way. Despite the turmoil of emotions, you will leave the theater with a smile on your face.
In many ways “Creed” is a typical boxing movie. The young and hungry up-and-comer must battle both himself and his opponent in the ring. Like almost all Rocky movies, it’s about the underdog. But, in many other ways, “Creed” is unlike any other boxing movie. Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan bring great acting to roles that, for most part, have been defined in the past by action rather than what occurs between matches. “Creed” is different enough to bring something new to the silver screen while also giving you everything you crave in a boxing movie. “Creed” is a movie worthy of the original “Rocky” and is one of the best in the series.
Grade: A
Rated PG-13 for violence, language, and some sensuality.