Cinema Dispatch: Creed III

Creed III and all the images you see in this review are owned by MGM Pictures

Directed by Michael B Jordan

Who would have expected that we’d get two movies back to back starring Jonathan Majors, and even more unlikely that there are a lot of similarities between the two?  Perhaps it’ll be worth probing into those odd connections later, but for now, we’re here to talk about the latest entry in the Creed franchise and the directorial debut of its star, Michael B Jordan!  He’s got some big shoes to fill; not only with this being the latest entry in the venerable Rocky series but also coming in after Ryan Coogler and Steven Caple Jr left their own marks on the franchise.  Is it a worthy successor to everything that came before it, or is the Creed franchise destined to repeat the mistakes that the Rocky movies made once they got a few sequels in?  Let’s find out!!

Adonis Creed (Michael B Jordan) is on top of the world as the boxing champ and has decided to retire while he still can, so instead of preparing for yet another fight he’s training an up-and-coming talent (José Benavidez Jr) with the help of Little Duke (Wood Harris) and the only thing that could get in their way is… I don’t know, perhaps a part of Creed’s past coming back to haunt him.  Then again, what are the chances of that, am I right?  Oh, wait, it looks like an old friend of his just got out of jail and is throwing more than a few subtle hints that he wants a shot at the title.  Yes, the blast from the past turns out to be a guy named Damien (Jonathan Majors) who seems cool at first as Creed’s longtime friend who’s ready to turn his life around, but he ultimately lives up to the name and before long he ends up on top of the boxing world under very dubious circumstances.  Creed having to confront his past brings up some very mixed feelings that start to affect his relationship with his wife and daughter (Tessa Thompson and Mila Davis-Kent) and when it comes down to it, does he have what it takes to set Damien straight and stop a monster that he has inadvertently created?  Will his family be able to follow him on his path to redemption, or are the wounds of the past too deep for them to heal?  Sure, this guy beat Drago Jr, but I don’t know; maybe Kang the Conqueror is just a hair outside of his league?

“OKAY! *COUGH* “NO MORE MR. NICE GUY!”
Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: Creed III”

Cinema Dispatch: Creed

CREED0

Creed and all the images you see in this review are owned by MGM Pictures

Directed by Ryan Coogler

I have this DVD boxset with the first three Rocky films in it that I think my dad got one Christmas.  He didn’t watch them all that often so I ended up holding onto the boxset and I would watch those three ALL the damn time.  A lot of people like the fourth film, but for me, Rocky has always been the first three movies which creates a perfect arc as Rocky starts out as a bum, eventually beats the champ, and they become friends afterwards.  Hell, it even ends right where Rocky begins (inside a crappy little gym) only now with Apollo Creed there as a reminder of how much has changed in such a short amount of time.  I didn’t catch Rocky Balboa until its home release, but it felt a perfect swansong for the series and Stallone proved once again that he really is a talented guy and deserved winning that Oscar.  Now we’re back with yet another film in that universe, but the dynamics have changed.  Not only is not really a Rocky film anymore, it’s not even a Stallone film considering that the writing and directing was handled by Ryan Coogler who himself is to proving to be an immense talent very early in his career.  Will this be an inspired continuation of series that still manages to be its own film, or will this be a disappointing cash grab on the level of Rocky 5 considering they pretty much have the same premise?  Let’s find out!!

The movie is about Adonis “Donnie” Johnson who is the son of Apollo Creed; the child of one of his mistress and born several months after Apollo’s death which should STILL put him at about 29, but whatever.  Continuity in the Rocky series is pretty wonky as it is.  Anyway, the kid is eventually found in a youth detention center by Apollo Creed’s widow (Mary Anne Creed played by Phylicia Rashad who FINALLY managed to be a movie that’s NOT directed by Tyler Perry) and she adopts the boy.  We cut to when he’s an adult and despite having money and having a good life, he still can’t seem to resist the urge to fight, so between shifts at his day job he fights in low level boxing matches under the name Donnie Johnson.  It’s not enough for him though, so he decides to quit his job, move to Philly, and get his father’s best friend to train him to be a professional boxer.  Will Rocky be willing to step back into that life after leaving it behind him?  Will Donnie finally find what is he’s looking for if he can convince Rocky to train him and put him in fights?  How many times will YOU cry watching this?

CREEDCD1
“You get this to work kid, and you’re gonna be set for at least four more movies.”

Continue reading “Cinema Dispatch: Creed”