Nov 29, 2015

Second best to the original Rocky.


Grade: B

Director: Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station )

Screenplay: Coogler, et al.

Cast: Michael B. Jordan(Fruitvale Station )

Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 133 min.

by John DeSando

You know the drill: Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) will either win or lose the last bout of Creed VS. Pretty Boy Conlan, who has a few choice barbs sent Donny’s way before the bout, just so we don’t like him. It’s an unavoidable formula done well by some solid performances from Sly Stallone and Michael B. Jordan.

Although it  sounds like I’m relegating this film to formula hell, it actually rises above the clichéd boxing story to tackle real issues such as family and disease with a legacy handicap each child must overcome (think Michael Douglas, for instance). The large issue here is Donny coming to terms with the shadow of his famous father Apollo, at one time the greatest boxer in the world.

Never for a second doubt that Rocky (Stallone) will return as he always does in this series, this time as an old man who agrees to train young Adonis. Stallone is credible as a former heavy weight champion with life lessons aplenty. For that matter, Jordan has both the physique and attitude of a bloodline that brooks no defeat.  Bianca (Tessa Thompson)   as Adonis’s love interest underplays nicely a role usually reserved for a demure, dismissed female.

Creed is a solid entry in the boxing genre, not anywhere near the complexity of Raging Bull but good enough for a rainy Saturday afternoon at the movies.  Come to think of it, that’s a cliché that still works, too. 

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at