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Film Review: 'Creed' Adds Strong New Branch to 'Rocky' Family Tree

by Todd A. Smith


(Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)


Another Branch of the Family Tree 



Ryan Coogler’s “Creed” is a different branch of the “Rocky” family tree but the film is still a close relative.

And just like any famous family, all of the offspring usually have similarities, like the fact that all of the Wayans are funny and all of the Kadarshians can put a root on whomever they are dating.

Just like in “Rocky,” the film “Creed” has the chicken chase.

“Creed” has its Adrian in Adonis’ (Michael B. Jordan) girlfriend Bianca (Tessa Thompson).

“Creed” has its requisite one-arm push-ups.

“Creed” has its downtown Philadelphia steps.

It has its Apollo Creed-like red, white and blue boxing trunks.

“Creed” also has the iconic “Rocky” theme song.

But it also features “Hail Mary” by Tupac (aka Makaveli), iCloud technology, YouTube and ATVs, which makes it its own unique entity while maintaining the excellence of the “Rocky” franchise.

Young Adonis (Alex Henderson) grows up in group homes and detention centers despite being the offspring of the most famous boxer to ever bless the ring, Apollo Creed.

He is a good kid but cannot stop using his fists to settle disputes, a gift he got honest from his legendary father.

However, Apollo’s widow Mary Ann (Phylicia Rashad) takes the orphan in, and the have not immediately becomes the have in a rag to riches story that Adonis cannot embrace.

As an adult he has a lucrative job at a finance company, but instead of accepting a promotion he quits to follow in the footsteps of his famous father.

He makes a name for himself fighting in underground bouts in Mexico while working in corporate America, but wants to fight the real deal.

Adonis enlists his “uncle” Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) as his trainer and begins to defeat the odds like his still-popular “Unc.”

The only difference between Adonis and Rocky is that Rocky was fighting for his life while Adonis gives up the life of luxury with Mary Ann for shoddy gyms and unbeatable foes who have to fight to survive.

Coogler’s story does something that Hollywood has rarely accomplished, which is recreate an iconic franchise with new characters but the same authenticity of its predecessors.

Jordan (“Fruitvale Station”) and Thompson’s (“Dear White People”) performances are spectacular as to be expected.

Wood Harris (“The Wire”) is his typical street tough self as Tony “Little Duke” Burton even if his appearance is too brief.

Additionally, the Academy Award contending film boosts cameo appearances by Mike Wilbon, Tony Kornheiser, Max Kellerman, Hannah Storm and Andre Ward.

However, the film does suffer from some predictable moments.

Moviegoers will know early on what Adonis’ boxing nickname will be.

And if there is a “Creed 2,” some of the storylines will be known halfway through “Creed.”

Nevertheless, thanks to Coogler and Jordan, Stallone’s dying baby has been resuscitated and honestly resurrected.

The film is a “Rocky”-esque film for a generation that might have been too young or not even born yet to enjoy the franchise, which began in 1976.

Thirty-nine years old is relatively old to birth a new baby, but that is just what Coogler has done.


And the baby is perfectly healthy, talented and with loads of potential for the future.






This article was published on Wednesday 25 November, 2015.
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