Back in the Ring
by Andrew Baxter
The seventh instalment in the Rocky franchise is now in cinemas, and it’s definitely worth watching.
Creed focuses on Adonis Creed, son of Apollo. Anyone who’s watched the original Rocky films will know that Apollo Creed died in Rocky IV, killed by Soviet powerhouse Ivan Drago.
As someone who is a big fan of the Rocky series, I wasn’t sure if this film would live up to the high standards set by its predecessors. Whilst quite a dark and deep film in places, it keeps a fast pace and progresses well, using new technologies and techniques to keep the franchise fresh, such as the stop-screen biographies on the various boxers seen in the film.
Michael B.Jordan is fantastic as Adonis Creed. Jordan underwent a rigorous training regime to get in shape for the role, and clearly looks the part. Jordan copes well with the fight scenes, as well as the slower, more emotional scenes.
He’s ably assisted by Sylvester Stallone. Stallone returns as Rocky Balboa, the character with which he found fame. Stallone manages to deal with some of the more sensitive issues in the film with his typical style, rekindling a few catchphrases without re-hashing the old films. He also reveals who won the third fight between himself and Apollo Creed, something that was never disclosed in the earlier films.
The film essentially mirrors the first Rocky film. It captures some of the magic of the previous films (the scene where Adonis watches the fight between his father and Rocky, whilst shadow boxing, is a great example of this), something that will appeal to those who enjoyed the first few instalments in the franchise. As has been previously mentioned, the film is deep in places, with Rocky having to deal with a variety of personal problems, whilst coaching Creed.
The plot is solid. There are no obvious flaws, and it is engaging enough to keep your attention over the long running time (over two hours, the longest in the franchise).
The film also features a few cameo appearances. Andre Ward, one of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the world, makes a short appearance as Danny Wheeler. The legendary Michael Buffer makes an appearance as the MC for the final fight scene, too. Creed’s opponent in this aforementioned fight is Ricky Conlan, played by British boxer Tony Bellew. Bellew is impressive in his role as Conlan, playing the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.
The final fight scene between Creed and Conlan is one of the best in the entire franchise. Set at Goodison Park, home of Everton FC (Stallone is an Everton fan, and Tony Bellew is an Everton fan too), the scene captures the passion of the crowd, whilst simultaneously maintaining the intensity of the fight itself.
Creed runs at the MacRobert Arts Centre until Thursday 18th February. For more information, head to http://macrobertartscentre.org/event/creed/