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Dec 9, 2015
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The year 2016 marks the 40th anniversary of the first Rocky movie. And it’s safe to assume that a lot has changed since then. Sylvester Stallone has grown wrinkly. Boxing has exploded into a mainstream multibillion-dollar industry, complete with pay-per-view, commercial sponsorships, and mini HBO documentaries. But what remains the same is that, our hunger for a great underdog story is still alive and kicking.

Creed tells the story of Adonis “Donnie” Johnson, an aspiring boxer who also happens to be the son of Apollo Creed—yes, the same dude Rocky Balboa exchanged punches with and eventually died at the hands of Soviet Olympic boxer-monster Ivan Drago.

The product of an illicit affair, a fatherless Donnie was left hopping from juvenile detentions to foster homes after Apollo’s death. When Apollo’s widow takes him in, he realizes that his father’s talent courses through his veins, prompting him to drop a tedious desk job and pursue his real passion.

He moves to Philadelphia in search of Rocky, his father’s friend and infamous rival in the ring, whom he hopes can train him to become the next big champ.


MINUS POINTS

- A tad too long

Although the movie clocks in at about 133 minutes, it feels much longer. The pacing isn’t brisk, jumping from one dramatic scene to the next with a lot of lulls in between. You might get impatient and antsy for the big fight. Don’t be. The eventual climax is satisfying.


PLUS POINTS

+ Michael B. Jordan = INTENSE!

Nope, not the great MJ, but the young actor chosen to play Creed’s spawn who has a magnetic, quiet confidence. Despite playing a brash, loud, ultra-proud character, Jordan manages to lure you on to his side of the ring. As a leading man, he has an oxymoronic quality about him. He’s simultaneously stoic and kinetic, nuanced but feverishly bold onscreen. One thing’s for sure, like the boxer he plays, you can only expect more amazing work from him in the future.


+ The Italian Stallion is back!

Albeit aged and quite sickly than you probably remember him. But nonetheless, Sly’s indubitable charm is on full display as he reprises the role that catapulted him into superstardom. As he trains the young Creed, it’s nostalgic to see Rocky’s game-face on once again. Only this time he’s on the sidelines and passing the torch on to the next generation.

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+ Electric boxing scenes

Filmmaking has evolved so much since the Rocky movies. The camerawork, cinematography, and fight choreography present in Creed actually make you feel like you’re the one dealing the hooks and uppercuts or are on the receiving end of it all. The editing is fast and frenetic that you might just end up bruised and bloodied—well, emotionally at least.


THE FINAL WORD

Underneath the epic training montages, the pulsating hip-hop soundtrack, and the painful boxing scenes is a sincere movie about relationships. Creed is about the connections people choose to make amidst personal struggles. How the things an individual chooses to forgive, forget, or carry with him affect his present bonds and his futures. We are our own worst enemy.

Attaining glory and redemption is all about putting in the blood, sweat, and tears necessary. But sometimes, even though you do, you still won’t know what hit you. And in the end, it’s okay, so long as you know you fought with your whole strength, mind, and heart.

Special thanks to Warner Bros. Pictures

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