The conclusion of Creed ends where you could say the Rocky franchise began in 1976; on top of the infamous 72 steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art with the line "not bad at all"
It's quite an apt line because what is ostensibly the sixth sequel in the Rocky series really is 'not bad at all', in fact I'd go so far as to say there's life in the old punchbag yet.
In fact this is a rousing, stirring and thankfully largely authentic movie from director Ryan Coogler that serves as an extension to those previous films, trading on its past by focusing on the new generation and with a great contemporary attitude in the shape of the illegitimate son of Rocky's former opponent and friend Apollo Creed. Wisely, the film takes Rocky ringside and plays on his fallibility thus enabling a genuine acting performance from Stallone - who was always better when given the rare opportunity to play his vulnerable side - which saw him awarded a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor. Taking centre stage in the ring is the impressive Michael B Jordan as Adonis Creed (or Johnson as he is known for much of the film) a young man grappling with the legacy of his father, but it is perhaps his character's love interest played Tessa Thompson who truly rolls with the punches.
Being the bastard son of a former heavyweight champ, Adonis 'Donnie' Creed feels like he has a lot to prove to the world. Having been brought up in care for a good part of his childhood means that he also has a lot of fight in him. We see this by a neat parallel with Rocky's own exploits in the first film; how he is something of a regular on the circuit of savage, low rent bouts, seemingly unable to break out into the big league he dreams of. Determined, Creed heads to Philly to hook up with Rocky and convince him to become his trainer. Along the way, a lucky break means he gets his chance at the title against Pretty Ricky Conlan (real life fighter Tony Bellew) the British champ, at the hallowed ground of Goodison Park, Liverpool. But before Donnie can get there he's dealt a terrible blow when Rocky reveals he is having a fight of his own - against cancer.
Knockout Rating: 4 out of 5 Punches
Creed is a thrill ride and a nostalgic treat that took me back to my youth watching the Rocky films in the '80s. It led to me revisiting the previous entries in the series as you have seen her eon the blog this past week. Here is my overall ratings of the films.
- Rocky (1976) 5 out of 5
- Rocky II (1979) 4 out of 5
- Creed (2015) 4 out of 5
- Rocky Balboa (2006) 3.5 out of 5
- Rocky IV (1985) 3 out of 5
- Rocky III (1982) 2.5 out of 5
- Rocky V (1990) 2 out of 5