Words Glenn Blomfield
The ROCKY series has moved into a new franchise, CREED the story of Adonis Johnson. ROCKY is still at the heart of this film. First round with the CREED film was a winning glory of a film. Pulling you in to its emotional core, having now an aged Rocky and Apollo Creed’s son Adonis Johnson really works, finding a new way for purpose and the fight to win. Now comes CREED 2, which I have to say is one of my “feel good” pick films of the year, it’s everything you want from a ROCKY/CREED film. I was pulled back, a rousing connection with the characters, with its classic ROCKY film theme, that feeling of overcoming in triumph, redemption & philosophy question reasons of “why” and “purpose”.
Heroes journey, what one has to go through to succeed, the challenge is in yourself. It is more about the philosophy, what makes you, drives you, the fight with in yourself, thats where the winning comes from, determination and the willing to push further than your opponent, how much you want it, the hunger of the fittest, ‘The Eye of the Tiger’ as the the classic ROCKY theme song puts it. Michael B Jordan puts his soul into the role, mentally and physically, his opponent for the big fight is a brute force boxing beast, and Michael B Jordan has put in the hard yards. Making a CREED movie as it was for making a ROCKY movie for Sylvester Stallone, the amount of training and taking the punches is no mean feat, it is no doubt down and dirty hard work, fighting fit, cant hide the physical amount of training that is required to get into the roles. You can see on the screen the live and breath amount of work thats has gone into the character, impressive to say the least.
CREED 2, may for some who aren’t built up in the series of ROCKY films, may find it a bit melodramatic, hard pushing on it philosophical themes. I was hooked in, digging its rousing vibe, so by fight time, I had the emotional soul of the film fighting with me in the ring. CREED is a new direction from the ROCKY films, its not about ROCKY fighting in the ring anymore, ROCKY was the peoples hero figure representation of us. That mantel has moved onto Creed, with Rocky character mentoring his way. Sylvester Stallone has embodied one of cinemas most recognisable character, ROCKY is so part of our awareness you think he is an actual real fighter that existed. As much as this is a CREED film, I felt it was also a ROCKY film, Stallone character of Rocky really has a power an emotional core to the film, his fight is not in the boxing ring, but the fight goes on. It is just a wonderful breathing character and so beautiful acted by Stallone.
What is a ROCKY film without its training montage, and CREED has carried the tradition on, what others my find cheesy, it is the signature moment, we are about to enter the ring for the big fight, and it going through the baptism of fire about to enter a whole world of hurt and pain. I love it, what makes for its rousing energy, the classic ROCKY theme music building you up for the big moment. So by the the time of fight night, all bets are of ‘are you ready to Rumble’ as the ring announcer puts it.
The tie in story, is a clever one connecting with the nostalgia of the ROCKY IV (1985) film, where ROCKY opponent was the formidable Russian boxing giant machine. The fight of America versus Russia, the weight of opposing countries. It is the film where Adonis Johnson father Apollo Creed was killed in the ring by the pounding might of the Russian boxer ‘Drago’ played by Dolph Lundgren. Rocky looses a close friend in the ring, and CREED lost a father. I should note a father he never new, but carries the burden of his legacy and name. It is the fight that pulls Rocky back into the ring to fight, and conquer allot of demons in the process. Now Dolph Lundgren ‘Drago’ is back with his own boxing son to settle scores carrying allot of weight and pain, the son looks like a whole new world of hurt, a brutal pit-bull of a fighter. CREED and ROCKY are facing there past, there is allot at stake, and to personally overcome.
I feel I need to mention the females in the film, they carry a strength, and a strong importance to the lead protagonist. Rocky had his backbone with Adrian, Creed has his mother, (Apollo Creed widow), and Creed also with his love interest Bianca played by Tessa Thompson. The film plays on there importance very well, Tessa Thompson portrayal is excellent, with her own struggles and strength.
CREED 2 for me is a rousing success, I can hear the ROCKY theme music playing in my head when I think of this film, strong themes of family, purpose, the fight starts first within. It has all the character traits of a perfect ‘Heroes Journey’s’ story. Full of drama, and uplift. I loved the whole package, I was emotional tapped in, with a bit of slight cheesy, melodrama and all. CREED is a well breathed out character, his character life is playing out in front of him, wife, family and what the future brings. ROCKY world is looking for closures, redemption, and what life can bring as he faces the closing end. I for one cant wait for what further stories in the saga brings. Its a knockout.