Zaki’s Review: Creed

23 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Hollywood’s contenders for the best boxing films.

The young boxer discovers that his late father, Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), was Rocky Balboa’s great opponent in the very first installment of what’s now become a seven-film series.

Seeking his own identity, he travels to Philadelphia, engages a reluctant Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) as his trainer and, just as Rocky did in the 1976 original, this virtually unknown, untested fighter gets in the ring with a boxing champ (former three-time ABA heavyweight champ Anthony Bellew). For Jordan it’s the kind of role that defines careers — and he owes it all to writer director Ryan Coogler, whose 2013 “Fruitvale Station” was Jordan’s breakthrough. “Fruitvale,” he continued, “mattered to me very much. The 28-year-old grew up in Newark, N.J., and is familiar to television audiences as high school quarterback Vince Howard in “Friday Night Lights.” Unrelated to basketball player Michael Jordan, he added the initial of his middle name, Bakari, to distinguish the two.

He had a couple of turtles named Cuff and Link, he eventually acquired a dog named Butkus — and of course he was plucked from obscurity to fight Apollo Creed, the greatest boxer the world had ever known. That’s what made those movies so great. “So for me, I was really just continuing on the same path of making the movie that I would want to watch with my family. It just so happened with this that Sly jumped on board, Mike jumped on board.” “It’s an honor to be accepted into this legendary world that’s been around for 40 years. By the 1930s the genre had become more sophisticated and although there have been some turkeys over the years, boxing films have continued to earn acclaim, awards and box-office riches, with every decade producing its own contender. As far as getting in shape, before the film went into production I had to start training, change my diet dramatically and be consistent with working out.

Beery played former heavyweight champion Andy “Champ” Purcell, battling alcoholism and gambling addiction while constantly disappointing his son Dink, played adorably by a young Jackie Cooper. Threatened with losing his son, Champ gets his act together for one last fight. (Spoiler alert) Test audiences disliked the original ending in which Champ lost and died in his son’s arms, so the ending was altered to have Champ win but still die, so his son could at least be proud of him. And with the exception of the unfortunate “Rocky V” (Tommy Gunn is the Mister Freeze of “Rocky” villains), we had a fantastic run with one of the most memorable movie characters of our time. Jordan, a script from writer-director Ryan Coogler that expertly navigates paying tribute to the franchise while creating an effective stand-alone film and fine work from Stallone, whose work as Rocky through the years has often been underrated, “Creed” is a terrific addition to the “Rocky” canon.

Through a one-scene flashback and a few establishing scenes, we learn of one Adonis Johnson (Alex Henderson), the product of an affair between a mother who didn’t want him — and none other than Apollo Creed, who died before Adonis was born. Flash forward a decade, and now the 25ish Adonis (Jordan) is working for a Los Angeles financial firm during the week and sneaking down to Tijuana to fight in brutal, black-market matches on the weekends. Even though Mary Anne has provided Adonis with a top education and he’s a rising star in the corporate world, Adonis is simmering with anger and resentment, and filled with the urge to fight. Enter Rocky, and you want to cheer the first time Stallone as Balboa slowly out of the shadows at Adrian’s, still wearing that familiar hat, still carrying himself like a prizefighter with every step. It doesn’t take long for Rocky to figure out who Adonis Johnson really is; it doesn’t take Adonis long to persuade Rocky to train him — at Mickey’s old gym, now refurbished but still an old-school joint where you can practically smell the sweat and the broken dreams before you open the door.

Snappily dressed Corbett is a boxer from an Irish family who fights at a time when boxing was illegal and invents fast footwork, outclassing opponents. Based on the story of the Italian-American middleweight champion Jake LaMotta and his self- destructive ways, De Niro packed on the kilos to play the boxer.

Critics were divided when the film came out, but its reputation has since grown and it is now considered by many as the greatest boxing film of all time.

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