Getting ‘Creed,’ a ‘Rocky’ spinoff, made was a real underdog story for Ryan …

24 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Michael B. Jordan goes toe-to-toe in ‘Creed’.

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – If you enjoy the movies after Thanksgiving dinner, there are plenty of choices including the latest from Sylvester Stallone titled “Creed.” In the film, iconic boxer Rocky Balboa, played by Sylvester Stallone, comes out of retirement to coach and mentor Adonis Johnson, the son of his late friend and former rival Apollo Creed. Sure, most of them are exactly the same movie. (Rocky has to fight somebody no one thinks he can defeat, he trains real hard, and then he ends up winning—or, at least, gaining a significant moral victory.) But Stallone (who wrote every installment except for the forthcoming Creed and directed every one except Rocky and Creed) added feeling to the formula by fashioning the series as a running commentary on celebrity, aging and the way boxing grinds up its greatest fighters. (One of this Oscar-winning franchise’s secret weapons is its poignant charting of the passage of time, which sorta makes the Rocky films the Boyhood of sports sequels.) With Creed receiving glowing reviews, let’s go back and rank all seven films. After 2006’s “Rocky Balboa,” the sixth installment in the series about the perennial-underdog fighter, Stallone figured he was most likely forever done playing the character he’d first brought to life in the seminal 1976 smash “Rocky.” “That movie was the toughest sell of all,” the actor recalled of “Rocky Balboa” on a recent afternoon. “‘Rocky V’ was considered a failure financially and critically. There’s not much more that says “Rocky Balboa” than a movie that begins with the fighter being diagnosed with brain damage (and still having two more movies to come, over the span of 25 years).

This is pretty obviously the worst Rocky movie, a hackneyed, sort of embarrassing retread of every Rocky trope, filtered through a ham-handed father-son bonding story between Rocky and his son Robert (played, shakily, by the late Sage Stallone, Sly’s son). We talked about this project before we started shooting “Fruitvale Station,” and it was one of those things that he told me about loosely and I was like, “Oooh, great.” Afterwards, when things started coming together, it was an amazing opportunity, playing a character that nobody ever knew existed, working across from Rocky, a character that everybody thought was put to bed.

But if we’ve learned anything about the Italian Stallion, it’s that whenever you think he’s down for the count, he somehow manages to get back on his feet. What Sly did at the time was incredible to write direct and star in any movie let alone a boxing film.” “We wanted to give Adonis a chip on in his shoulder,” explained Jordan. “I wanted him to be a character who didn’t know who his dad was, I think Adonis uses his dad as a measuring stick to figure out what kind of man he is and what man he wants to be.” When asked what the toughest part of the movie was, he answered, “Diet. It’s that indomitable spirit that has made him one of the most beloved characters in movie history. (When the American Film Institute ranked the greatest movie heroes in 2003, Rocky came in at No. 7, between Clarice Starling and Ellen Ripley.) On Nov. 25, audiences will get one more chance to see Stallone reprise the role that launched him to sudden worldwide fame four decades ago. In “Creed,” a spinoff of the “Rocky” franchise directed by Ryan Coogler (“Fruitvale Station”), the aging Balboa reluctantly agrees to train an up-and-coming fighter named Adonis Creed (Michael B. To see a character that’s multi-layered and inspirational, somebody you can root for, I think that was very important to show the youth, to inspire them to do whatever they want, to follow their dreams.

He’s a smart guy, great actor and he transforms into this intelligent guy to that vernacular .He sounds different, breaths different, walks different, he slumps over. Following the pattern set up in Rocky III, Rocky IV burdens our hero with the death of someone close to him—in this case, Apollo Creed—before facing his greatest opponent yet, a feared Soviet Union fighter elegantly named Ivan Drago (played by the equally elegantly named Dolph Lundgren). At 69, Stallone finds the idea that Rocky has now come full circle — from small-time lovable loser to world champion to grizzled mentor — both fitting and strange. “I’m now the same age Burgess Meredith was in ‘Rocky’ — isn’t that weird?” he said. “I’m the guy who’s knocking on the door going, ‘Hey, kid.’ It’s an unbelievable feeling.

I’d say my life is about 96% failures, but if you just get that 4% right, that’s all you need.” In person, with his muscles bulging under his shirt, Stallone still looks as though he could lay flat a much younger man. This, inevitably, leads to the two men fighting for real, and then the greatest hits start playing: We get a vintage Rocky training montage, some inspirational speeches, some cartoonishly brutal fight scenes and, “Get up, Rock, get up!” This is all corny, but it’s played with real sincerity, and the father-son business that grated in Rocky V works much better here. Before achieving fame, he said, “I walked around with a deep-seated inferiority complex.” He still comes across as modest and self-deprecating, aiming his toughest jabs at himself. You’ve got to understand how much that character means to people and what he stands for on the screen, to be able to put him in situations where you see him as such a strong character in the first six films and then you see the roles reversed, this guy you see as a fighter and a champion not be that strong.

Stallone’s quietly soulful performance in “Creed” already has some Oscar pundits considering him as a potential supporting actor nominee, but he brushes off that sort of talk. “Can you imagine? That would be really funny, wouldn’t it?” Though he was nominated for best actor for the first “Rocky” as well as for his screenplay, he has often been treated as a punching bag over the years for what some have deemed his limited acting range and tendency to play monosyllabic roles.

That began a long doldrum.” Over the course of his career, Stallone has appeared in roughly 60 movies — big hits, big flops and everything in between. Despite the threat to Rocky that he might go blind if he keeps boxing—or the scare of Adrian falling into a coma after giving birth to their son prematurely—this sequel delivers the rousing, satisfying conclusion that anybody could have hoped for (or seen coming) after the Oscar-winning original. A) It’s the classic storyline of a hero who loses touch with what makes him special, and so he has to relearn things about himself in order to make it back to the top. (“You got civilized, Rock,” Mickey tells him. F) Clubber Lang is the best villain of the series and, honestly, a pattern not just for Mike Tyson, but also every video game bad guy for the next 20 years.

Finally my agent said, ‘For a guy who played Rocky, you’re kind of a chicken.'” Eventually, Stallone warmed to the idea of bringing Rocky back for one more round, this time as a kind of ringside Buddha and father figure to a younger fighter. “There are certain things I’m allowed to say through Rocky that I can’t say through Rambo or anyone else,” he said. “Rocky is very preachy. At its heart, Rocky is simply a quiet love story about two shy Philadelphians who might not be the smartest folk but are good-hearted and discover that they need one another. That’s what Rocky really is: a springboard for the way I see life or wish life was.” The fact is, Stallone knows that, even though he brought Rocky into this world, the character doesn’t just belong to him anymore. Roger Ebert was gently mocked for once saying Stallone in this film reminded him of the young Brando, but if this were the only movie Stallone ever made, I bet we’d talk about him that way.

The later films kept trying to recreate the underdog story—attempting to constantly reinvent Rocky as a scrappy unlikely hero after the previous movie had just told us how much of a champion he was—but this one does it naturally, with no effort as all. Remember: When the fight ends, Rocky doesn’t want a rematch, he ignores the ringside reporters, he doesn’t even listen to the judges’ scores being announced. That was hours and hours spent in the gym, working with our cinematographer, out camera operator, our fight coordinator, make-up — it was very collaborative.

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