For fans of the Rocky franchise, the instantly recognisable name of Apollo Creed brings back memories of Carl Weathers in the ring wearing those famous Stars and stripes on his Trunks and Top Hat. Hearing the name we remember his brutal bouts with Rocky Balboa and his eventual death at the hands of Ivan Drago. This Creed however is very different.
The two and a half minute trailer gives us a gritty look at Apollo’s son, Adonis.
Following in his Fathers footsteps, Adonis appears to be an up and coming young Boxer who turns to Rocky for help. We see the legendary Italian Stallion and the protégé discussing the fights featured in the previous films, before Adonis reveals that he is Apollo’s son. After that there is a montage of clips showing everything we have come to expect from a modern Boxing film, showing shots of training, in ring action, troubled home life and the inevitable Press Conference scrap!
Even with Sylvester Stallone again reprising his role of the legendary Rocky, this movie is by no means another sequel. It comes across that this could be viewed as a stand alone film that happens to have some well known characters mixed in to it, to give a fresh feeling to a franchise that is now in to its fifth decade. This can only help to bring in a new generation of fans who will see this and want to see for themselves what happened to these people years before Creed.
Now in his late sixties, Stallone sensibly hands the lead role to promising young Actor Michael B Jordan. At 28 years old Jordan already has an impressive CV featuring roles in the upcoming reboot of Fantastic Four and Chronicle as well as Television shows such as the surprisingly enjoyable Friday Night Lights and Lie To Me.
Also in the cast, making his acting debut is Britain’s very own real life Boxer Tony Bellew. The former WBC Intercontinental Champion plays “Pretty” Ricky Conlan, who we can see causing problems at the Press Conference with Adonis.
With his experience and know how, the character of Rocky has now become the Trainer, passing his knowledge on to the next Generation. This can be seen as a nod to the late, great Burgess Meredith’s Mighty Mickey. A character much loved by fans of the series.
This is the first film that features Rocky Balboa not to be written or directed by Stallone himself. Creed sees 29 year old Ryan Coogler taking over on both of these fronts. Other than a few Shorts, Coogler has just one feature length film to his name, 2013’s Fruitvale Station. This also features Michael B Jordan in the lead role. This film received critical acclaim upon its release and won approximately 40 awards from 50 nominations. This sets high expectations for Creed, which hopefully Coogler can live up to.
When everything is stripped away, Boxing films always come down to one thing, will our Hero win or lose? This will always be the defining moment in any sports movie, but it can also be any number of other aspects such as the writing, directing, the acting and the overall feel of the film that can see it stand out in a genre that doesn’t always come over well on the big screen. This is where Creed can get itself noticed and find its place in the Rocky series.
Creed is released on November 15th.
By Paul Tickle of Lionheart Reviews