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Creed: A knockout return for Rocky

By Alex Wiggan

Released in 1976, Rocky is one of the greatest sporting movies of all time. Heck, it’s one of the greatest movies of all time too! Now, 40 years (and six sequels) later, Rocky Balboa, returns to the big screen for the seventh instalment in the boxing saga, this time via sequel, Creed.

And let’s just be clear about this for one minute; Creed is very much a Rocky sequel and not a Rocky spin-off. Audiences who grew up on the Rocky films, who have followed Balboa’s ups and downs, and who have invested time in this character, need to watch Creed, because it is as much a Rocky movie as parts I-VI.

This time around, the film – which stars Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan – places Rocky as a coach only, training the latest up-and-coming fighter: Adonis Johnson Creed, the illegitimate son of Rocky’s late friend, Apollo Creed. Although Adonis has Creed blood flowing through his veins, he’s not quite the champ that his father was, and that’s where Rocky comes in to offer much needed advice and support.

But Rocky isn’t just along for the ride, the support he provides to Creed is very much reciprocated and soon the pair become a family unit, striving towards a common goal. It’s through their shared bond that they truly understand what it takes to become a fighter and the result is a dynamite movie with excellent performances all round.

Michael B. Jordan is perfectly cast as Adonis Creed; it’s as if he is somehow channelling actor Carl Weathers, essentially bringing Apollo’s spirit back to the ring. His determination and his rage are all there, yet at the same time he’s got Rocky’s heart, as well as his shortcomings, ensuring that the character has a certain likeability, which stops him from becoming a one-note rehash of Apollo Creed.

And then there’s Stallone.

Sylvester Stallone recently picked up a Golden Globe award for his performance in Creed and it was an award which he truly deserved. Not only does he bring Rocky back to the big screen through a poignant performance, he also reminds the audience why the character has lasted for four decades unchallenged.

On paper Creed sounds like a flimsy excuse for a Rocky movie, with the Apollo Creed connection coming off as a very tenuous link to get Rocky back in the story, yet the finished film is the exact opposite. Director Ryan Coogler crafts a tale which not only brings Rocky to the forefront of the story, but also ensures this is still very much Michael B. Jordan’s movie. Should the franchise continue without its biggest star, it seems to be in safe hands.

As Rocky films go, Creed is up there with the best of them, offering a new lease of life to what had become a bit of a tired saga. Sure, the sixth instalment, Rocky Balboa (2006), would have provided a satisfactory conclusion to Rocky’s journey, but Creed ensures that if this film does turn out to be Rocky’s swansong, then at least he goes out fighting.

Now bring on Creed II.


About Alex Wiggan: Alex’s favourite Rocky movie is Rocky II (1979), but he admits Rocky III (1982) is a very close second.


Love Rocky? Then check out Honcho-SFX’s range of Rocky T-shirts, including this Clubber Lang T-shirt, this Rocky raglan/baseball shirt and this classic Rocky Balboa T-shirt.

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