Creed Review: The charm of Rocky with contemporary grit makes it a genuine …

28 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Creed: good doses of nostalgia.

Apollo Creed is Rocky Balboa’s(Sylvester Stallone) most iconic rival, his fiercest competitor as seen in the first four Rocky movies. That’s what the 29-year-old director of Fruitvale Station talked about to persuade Sylvester Stallone to allow him to make Creed, the seventh film in the franchise, now playing. “I was just always honest with (Stallone) and let him know what the movies meant to me,” said Coogler during a recent interview in Toronto — fittingly held in a Yonge St. boxing gym — along with Creed’s stars Michael B. And almost 40 years later it looks like Sylvester Stallone could find himself in a similar position following reports the veteran action star has been tipped for an Academy Award for his potrayal of the famous fictional boxer in the latest installment of the franchise, Creed. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad; PG-13 (violence, language and some sensuality); in general release The challenge for the “Rocky” sequels was finding creative ways to make Rocky Balboa the underdog when he obviously wasn’t. “Creed,” which is half Rocky sequel and half Rocky spin-off, has the same problem. “Creed” brings the Rocky saga into the 21st century through bloodlines that go back to the franchise’s roots.

The 69-year-old actor has been surrounded by Oscar buzz for his performance, which sees him play the trainer of Apollo Creed’s son, Adonis Johnson (Michael B. He hits it out of the park, and if there’s a vote, I’ll be voting for him,’ producer Charles Winkler told Variety regarding the rumours. ‘The talk has happened without us having to boost it at all, and deservedly so.

But money and a gift-wrapped career can’t squeeze the boxer out of his blood, and eventually Adonis sets off to Philadelphia in search of his destiny. Despite the former boxing champ battling an opponent deadlier than any in the ring, he agrees to mentor the young boxer and soon helps him attain a title shot, though whether he has the true heart of a fighter remains to be seen. When Adonis finds Rocky (Sylvester Stallone), the ex-champion is living a humble lifestyle in his old neighborhood, running an Italian restaurant (Adrian’s) and trying to defer his hometown hero status. Accompanied by Sophia, 19, Sistine, 17, and 13-year-old Scarlet accompanied their dad to the Regency Village Theatre, Westwood, the star could not have looked prouder flanked by his girls.

Sylvester certainly dressed the part for the occasion in a sharp navy suit and crisp white button down shirt at the event, where he was also joined by co-stars Michael and Tessa Thompson. While Adonis sets about convincing Rocky to train him, half a world away a troubled champ named Ricky Conlan (Tony Bellew) is looking for one last score before starting a prison sentence.

There’s a scene where Rocky, who has health issues, explains his feelings about what’s left of his life and his career to Johnson that is arguable the most dramatic of Stallone’s career. “Creed” ends with a finale fight between Johnson (don’t call him “Baby Creed”) and an undefeated Scottish fighter in Europe, and yes, the “Rocky” theme, composed by Bill Conti, ushers us into the big brawl. “Creed” has plenty of the original Rocky color and feel. It was an intensely personal project for Coogler, who said the Rocky movies helped his father deal with his own mother’s breast cancer when he was young.

This exchange of son-father relationships gives the fans a chance to relive the Rocky in his prime through Adonis– there are delectable throwbacks such as the early portions of Adonis’ training sessions under his guru. He later used the dramas to motivate Coogler in high school and college. “Whenever I’d have a big football game or a big test at school, he’d say, ‘Hey man take 10 minutes, we’ll watch this scene from Rocky.’” Coogler recalled. “He’d get fired up … this’ll give you the juice!

The film works not so much because it is great cinema but the fact that it fulfils the expectations one has from it, even for those who haven’t watched even one Rocky movie. With his days as a champion fighter long gone, we see more clearly that it is the charm that Stallone instills in Rocky that makes him such a beloved character.

Director Ryan Coogler offers up more than your basic underdog story and staging, and makes the material interesting on a visual level as well as emotionally. She describes Stallone as “an awesomely eccentric, fantastic dude.” Thompson observes Rocky audiences remain loyal because “they give us a sort of perspective of what’s possible with self determination, perseverance. He helped the actor avoid the kind of slip-ups that make moviegoers cringe, learning not to “oversell a punch, not taking the punch too soon, taking a long time, especially when you do slo-mo shots.

Coogler said his most difficult day on set was shooting an emotional scene involving Jordan and Stallone and the famous “Rocky steps” leading to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It’s still a fun movie, and “Creed” will offer plenty of nostalgia-heavy payoffs for longtime fans, some that only hardcore Rocky nuts will spy.

At one point, the entry of two boxing stars in a match becomes like a slo-mo pop music video, the arena throbbing with the beats of Hip-hop soundtrack. But anyone whose familiarity with Rocky begins and ends with Balboa’s Cold War battle with Ivan Drago would be well advised to see the classic that started the whole thing. Amid all the male-bonding, the lovely Tessa Thompson, who plays Johnson’s musician girlfriend from the apartment below, makes her presence felt with an assured performance.

As a retired heavyweight champ who is also a broken soul, mourning the untimely loss of his wife, Stallion gives the character a deeply felt dignity and quietness.

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