It’s been a long time since Sylvester Stallone has delivered a knockout performance, but in the new installment to the Rocky franchise, Creed, Stallone shows he deserves to be in the same ring with many of this years top supporting actor candidates.
While Stallone is great, make no mistake, Creed is all about Michael B. Jordan’s character, Adonis Creed.
From the opening scene, where a young Adonis is seen fighting in a juvenile detention center to the closing scene of the film, Jordan shows he has enough punch to carry the Rocky franchise in a whole new direction.
Ryan Coogler, director of the haunting Fruitvale Station, in which movie girls were introduced to Jordan, as he gave another rousing performance, is at the top of his game. Coogler’s film doesn’t seem like a 2 hour-plus film, as it’s action-packed and an emotional rollercoaster.
After learning he is the son of the former champion, Apollo Creed, Adonis, or Donny as refers to himself through much of the movie, moves to Philadelphia to ask Rocky to train him.
Adonis finds Rocky still operating his restaurant, Adriane’s and all alone. Rocky’s friend, Pauly has since passed and Balboa’s son has moved away to Vancouver.
After being hesitant to train his best friend’s son, Rocky ultimately agrees to take Creed in.
The two have many funny and heartfelt moments in the movie.
Creed not only needs Balboa to train him, so that he doesn’t embarrass his father’s legacy, but Balboa later needs Creed to push him to fight the toughest opponent he has ever faced in any of the films.
Coogler not only hits every punch on the emotional wheel, but the fight scenes are brilliantly filmed. A couple of the fight scenes seemed to pay homage to Raging Bull, arguably the greatest boxing movie ever made.
Jordan seemed to immerse himself into the role of Adonis Creed, looking very similar to the Apollo character that Rocky fans grew to love in the first four films.
While I was a fan of the last Rocky film, Rocky Balboa, I admit it seemed unnecessary at times. Creed never felt that way, as it breathes new life into the franchise and will definitely create a new generation of fans.
Creed gets an A.
With Creed set to release on Thanksgiving, I started thinking of my favorite Rocky films.
I mean, I feel like Rocky should be dead and buried by now, yet he continues to live on. Judging by the trailer for the film, Creed will not feature a fight with Rocky Balboa, but rather, Adonis Creed, son of the late Apollo Creed. With a couple of weeks left before the new film comes out, I thought I would rank the Rocky films in order from worst to best.
Rocky is a punch-drunk boxer, who is forced to retire due to taking too many blows to the head. Tommy Gunn, played by the late-Tommy Morrison, is way over-the-top as Rocky’s predecessor. The acting is cheesy, at best. The ending fight scene is ridiculous. To think that a punch-drunk boxer like Balboa could take out a young champions like Gunn is ridiculous.
It’s been long rumored that Balboa was supposed to die in the fight. As ridiculous as the ending was, seeing Rocky die in a street fight would have destroyed everything he stood for. Nearly everyone who is a fan of the Rocky films is in agreement that the fifth film sucks.
For a film that is being billed as a horror movie, Crimson Peak comes off more as a tragic love story – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing for movie fans.
Del Toro is at his best in telling the story of a young woman who is swept off her feet by a seductive stranger. Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) is romanced by Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston). Sharpe’s sister, Lucille, played wonderfully by Jessica Chastain, seems to lurk near wherever the pair are around each other.
While all the performances are stellar, the stars of the film are the sets and costume design.
The house, Allerdale Hall, is filled with all kind of things that go bump in the night, but scares are at a minimum. While a few gruesome deaths happen on screen, there aren’t many actual scares in the film, yet I felt like the film had a creepy presence about it. It might have been the blood-red snow, for which there was no logical explanation given in the film.
While del Toro has always been known for his beautiful films, this is right up there among his best, as the dresses that Lucille wears in the film seem to almost come alive. While the ghosts play a prominent role in the film, I felt they were seen a bit too much. For all the positive things I’ve said about the set and costumes, the ghosts come off a bit lame. I would rather them have not even been on camera, as tricks the mind can play can be even scarier than seeing the real thing.
All in all, “Crimson Peak” is an enjoyable film. It’s beautifully made and skillfully acted.
Crimson Peak gets a B+.
In fact, the best thing I can say about the film is that I loved the trailer for Creed.
Roth claims this film is his ode to “Cannibal Holocaust,” a 1980 horror film which is considered a classic for it’s snuff film-like feel.
Maybe Roth is to blame or maybe it’s the MPAA, but for as much that was made of TGI’s gore and violence, I felt a bit shortchanged.
Viewers are treated to a dismemberment of one of the hippies, as well as a skinning, but other than that, it was rather tame.
While N.W.A. burst onto the scene in 1988 with the anthem “Fuck the Police,” the song seems more relevant now than ever, given the racial tension that is going on in Ferguson.
While F. Gary Gray’s biopic of N.W.A brilliantly shows just what the groups members went through to achieve fame, it seems to run just a little too long and get a little too soft near the end.
Gray, (whose first film Friday starred Ice Cube) is now directing Cube’s son, O’Shea Jackson Jr. O’Shea is a spitting image of his father in the film, and delivers a strong performance as the young Cube.
Jason Mitchell steals the show as Eric ‘Eazy-E’ Wright. Wright is easily the deepest character in the film, raising money for studio time by selling drugs. While Wright’s small stature mixes well with his high voice, his attitude and the way he carried himself was anything but small.