The Rocky Legacy

One step at a time. One punch at a time. One round at a time - Rocky

Michael B. Jordan in Creed (2015)

Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) never met his father, he died before he was even born and after his mum died when he was young he ended up in the system and a juvenile detention centre. But that is when he met Mary Anne (Phylicia Rashad), the widow of boxing great Apollo Creed and the man whose affair led to Adonis being born. Years later and having been fighting under the name Johnson down in Mexico, Adonis quits his office job and heads to Philadelphia to persuade Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) to be his trainer. Despite having retired from the business and really just waiting for the day he is reunited with those he has loved and lost Rocky feels obliged to help Adonis train. And when it comes out that Rocky is training Adonis the son of Apollo they find themselves tossed into the spotlight with a shot at troubled World Champion 'Pretty' Ricky Conlan (Tony Bellew) in Liverpool, England.

I am sure that Sylvester Stallone said something along the lines of that after making "Rocky Balboa" he had given the character the send off he deserved and that was it. But here is the truth; "Rocky Balboa" was a great movie and yes it would have been a fitting send off for the character except the character is so popular that I am sure Stallone could keep on playing the character till the day he dies and fans will flock to see him. That is the legacy of "Rocky" as he is such a great character, for many an inspirational character and part of their lives that there will always be room for more movies featuring Rocky Balboa.

Sylvester Stallone in Creed (2015)

But of course having a 69 year old slugging out in the ring would be wrong and that is where "Creed" is so good because this story evolves with Stallone evolving Rocky into more of a Mickey character and it works extremely well. I say Stallone evolves and of course he had an input into this movie's story but praise should go to director Ryan Coogler and those who created the storyline to "Creed" as they have evolved things in such a way that whilst the focus is on Adonis Johnson becoming a boxer and proving himself it also allows Stallone to return to the much loved character in an evolved role of trainer which feels right with him bringing back things which Mickey taught him and passing it on to someone who deserves his wisdom. And as such we have Stallone bringing not just Rocky back to the screen but also the Rocky humour as some parts of modern life are alien to him.

Now there is more to Stallone's part in "Creed" other than becoming Mickey 2.0, so to speak, but I will leave that for you to find out. But what we also get is this focus on young Adonis Johnson, trying to be his own man and not trading on his father's name whilst also bonding with Rocky who becomes a father figure to him. Now we see a lot of things in this movie from Adonis' finding love with an attractive singer who is losing her hearing to his struggles with those who call him baby Creed and so on. But there is a line which Adonis says and I won't say when it comes but basically he wants to prove he is not a mistake and it is such a powerful moment that it ramps up the emotion which the best "Rocky" movies always had. It tell you what, Ryan Coogler knows his "Rocky" movies as there are many elements which mirror parts of the early movies but done in such a way they don't feel just copies.

But whilst there are many things I could praise about "Creed" including the impressive shape which Michael B. Jordan got himself in to play the role of Adonis, there is something which didn't work for me. And that is sadly the fight scenes come across as too choreographed and at times felt like to people going through a blocking routine rather than tossing punches. In truth it highlights how spoilt we were when Stallone was in the ring as Rocky as he took more punches and made it look real. But the whole thing here just felt too created with several times you can see where punches are not making contact but people are tossing their heads back as it they are.

What this all boils down to is that whilst the fighting scenes in "Creed" disappointed in some ways the movie itself was still very good and in truth it is a clever way to keep the Rocky movies going but move the focus to a new character whilst also keeping the legend alive. And as I said as long as Stallone is alive the legend of Rocky can live on in this sort of evolved role.

Tags: Boxing Movies

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