2015 has seen some sleeper hits, but none have hit as well as the sequel that no one ever thought they needed, Ryan Cogler's seventh installment of the Rocky saga, Creed.
Initially met with derision, particularly with the casting of the internet's former choice casting pick Michael B. Jordan, first time actor/boxer Tony Bellew as the antagonist and an aging Sly donning Rocky's pork pie hat in the role once held by Mickey.
The trailers came, and they were far better than expected...the movie came and it has blown most people away with how it not only tapped into the original movie's heart but was far smarter than expected. There were twists, turns and a career best performance from Stallone that few saw coming, the real surprise was Adonis Creed himself. A believable, well rounded character, as well written and complicated as The Italian Stallion and his father, Apollo Creed were. He had motivations, frustrations, hopes, dreams and a temper worthy of the name.
Immediately talk of a new franchise began along with serious Oscar buzz for Stallone and with the news that Rambo is officially retired (with Stallone at least, a similar son based show is headed to TV soon) Variety is reporting that Sly has been talking about it, much to the chagrin of Ryan Cogler.
It appears that the plan is to go for The Godfather Part II style storytelling, with scenes of Rocky and Apollo in their younger days.
Think about that for a minute.
CGI has come to the stage that it's entirely possible that Carl Weathers and Sly's younger selves could work. Weather's is as bright a personality as ever and the fans would lap up some more of The Master Of Disaster, The King Of Sting, The Count Of Monte Fisto... even if was with the help of some computer de-aging.
There is however another intriguing possibility that could turn the franchise on it's head, yet seems somewhat inevitable.
There is someone who HAS to get involved in this story.
Some have speculated we could see USA v Russia 2, with the sons facing off. However there is a far more dramatic twist that could occur to that possibility...
(Spoilers for Creed ahead).
We know Rocky is sick... we know that a big part of his own history was facing his own demons, so it's clear Adonis has to face his and meet Ivan Drago. More Rocky/Apollo footage could work to reinforce this as Rocky tries to convince Adonis of the path he has to take.
But what if The Siberian Bull, post-Rocky IV had a "rocky road", shunned by his wife, who stayed in Russia with their unborn son and banned from his own country, he comes to America and the dream didn't come true for him.
Reviled by the public for the death of Apollo Creed, he has become a bitter recluse. What if the only person who can save Ivan Drago was Adonis Creed?
Indeed, when Mickey died, Rocky turned to his greatest opponent to help him and more to the point, Apollo gained as much if not more from his friendship with Rocky. It gave Apollo that second lease on life and 5 happy years away from the ring, robbed from Adonis (has to be some resistance after all) before the fateful decision to return to the ring, no doubt fueled by the revelation given in Creed.
There would be a great movie in Adonis taking the same route, facing the man who killed his father, realising the truth, that he indeed was a puppet, used and abandoned and his infamous "if he dies, he dies" line was as false as his steroid boosted power, the order to kill given by his masters.
There would be truth in the words his wife spoke, Apollo WAS greatly respected by Drago, but he was forced into a violent power game and failure was not an option, his own personal triumph in standing up to his oppressors backfiring on him and exiling him from ever knowing his only son and wondering if someone is going to come and kill him some day.
History is indeed repeating in the real world, Russia is again "the bad guy" in many aspects of the world, and doping is a hot button. Ivan's son could potentially be the same age as Adonis, doped in the same way his father was and being unleashed on the world in much the same brutal way, yet done in Europe in a similar vein to the Klitschko's "stronghold" in Germany, where they until recently NEVER lost.
What if all this was with a view to Russia "evening up the score" at Adonis Creed's and America's expense? You could imagine that world's version of Putin wanting that, showing up to it, expecting victory much as they did in 1986.
With Rocky dead and gone, they see their chance, only for Ivan to step into that void and show his son what Rocky's words in Moscow truly meant and the other side of the tragedy of Apollo's death.
That would be a hell of a movie and if there is one actor who could pull it off, it's Dolph Lundgren. He has gone that way in the first Expendables movie and was pretty convincing as a junkie/disturbed mercenary, he could play an alchoholic, angry Russian who could still kill 99% of the population with his bare hands, yet takes indignity with the same icy demeanor he had in 1986.
Of course, this is all speculation. But it seems that for Adonis to reach his potential, he has to deal with the past as will America itself and that past isn't particularly nice. There could be a Russian guy who was used, abused, abandoned and in need of redemption in that world... and the only person to grant is the son of what the world sees as his "victim".
The USA v Russia would work without question, with a role for his son and Brigitte Nielsen returning as Ludmila, parading her son much as she did her husband and boasting that the 'weakness' Ivan had is not there... but with Ivan in Adonis' corner as a spanner in the works?. I don't know about you, I'd pay to see that movie big time!
For the original article, here is the link.