Critics are calling CREED, the best film in the ROCKY series since the Oscar winning original in 1976. I wouldn't know, because I skipped most of them. But I can say that Sylvester Stallone (who plays a trainer not a boxer in CREED) will likely get a Best Supporting Oscar nomination and that the final fight scene alone is worth the price of admission.
The star of CREED is Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Johnson, the out of wedlock son of Rocky's deceased rival, Apollo Creed.
The son never knew his father but now as a young would-be fighter, he looks up Sylvester Stallone's Rocky to ask about his dad.
Rocky: He was a perfect fighter; ain't nobody ever been better.
Adonis: So how'd you beat him?
Rocky: Time beat him. Time takes everybody out. It's undefeated.
That's one of the best lines in CREED, a rousing but cliche ridden film that is a fine example of how a formulaic script can be turned into something pretty good when you add sharp dialogue, a talented director, and a strong, capable cast.
Rocky wants nothing to do with the boxing ring anymore, but of course he gives in and agrees to train the young man.
Rocky (as Adonis looks at himself in a huge mirror): You see this guy starin' back at you. That's your toughest opponent. I believe that's true in the ring. And I think that's true in life.
If you don't appreciate boxing, you should skip this film, because it's loaded with fight scenes and lots of close up, shaky camera cinematography that I had a hard time watching.
Adonis has a love interest who exists in the film mainly to convince him he shouldn't be afraid to use his father's name.
Adonis: Every move that I make, every punch that I throw, everybody's gonna compare it to him.
Girlfriend: You are Apollo Creed's son, so use the name. It's yours.
And to heighten the artificial drama even further, Rocky is stricken with cancer and refuses treatment.
Rocky: Everything I got has moved on and I’m here, but you know what, it’s OK, because I said to myself If I break or I’m hurt, I’m not gonna fix it. Why bother?
In spite of Stallone's convincing performance, I would have given this movie a thumbs down if it weren't for the terrific final fight scene. That scene is so intense and exhilarating that I had to fight back tears. I just wish the rest of the movie were even half as good.
Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now. firstname.lastname@example.org