Thursday, December 3, 2015

'Creed' Delivers A Convincing Knock-Out

Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan

By Darlene Donloe

Michael B. Jordan is quickly becoming one of those “go to” actors that steps up his game with each performance.

He made audiences sit up and take notice with his powerful and emotive portrayal of Oscar Grant in Fruitvale Station.  This summer he was Johnny Storm in The Fantastic Four and also appeared in the film, That Awkward Moment. In 2012 he starred in the supernatural thriller Chronicle.  On television he played Wallace in HBO’s hit series, The Wire and appeared in both Friday Night Lights and Parenthood.

Right now he is appearing in probably his most visible role to date.  He’s Adonis Johnson in the drama, Creed, currently in theaters. He stars opposite none other than Sylvester Stallone who reprises the Rocky Balboa role that made him a star.

The film is helmed and written by Ryan Coogler who directed Jordan in Fruitvale Station.

In the film Adonis Johnson is an executive at a company, who can’t stop thinking about boxing. He quits one day, packs his bag and heads for Philadelphia where he hopes to make his mark as a boxer – like his father, Apollo Creed.
So here’s the storyline.

Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) never knew his famous father, boxing champion Apollo Creed, who died before Adonis was born. However, boxing is in his blood, so he seeks out Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) and asks the retired champ to be his trainer. Rocky sees much of Apollo in Adonis, and agrees to mentor him, even as he battles an opponent deadlier than any in the ring.

With Rocky's help, Adonis soon gets a title shot, but whether he has the true heart of a fighter remains to be seen. Adonis puts his training into overdrive.

Director Ryan Coogler has assembled a believable and accomplished cast.  The direction is hot and the acting on point. 

Stallone, who for this first time is acting in a Rocky film he didn’t write, gives one of the best, heartfelt performances of his career.

Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone

You can’t help but get nostalgic when Rocky and Donny train in the ring.  The moments watching Rocky whip Donny into shape, are priceless!

Jordan holds his own up against the veteran – delivering a memorable performance.  Jordan’s body transformation into a boxer is impressive

Tessa Thompson is a gem to watch. She’s powerful and vulnerable as Bianca.

Coogler’s Rocky spin-off is one of the best films of the year. It’s tinged with comedy and drama, it’s moving,  it’s well-written, it’s smart, it’s powerful and is well-paced.

This is the seventh installment of the iconic Rocky franchise.  It would seem the franchise is in good hands.  Coogler, 29, has written a winning and believable story. He is clearly one of the best young writer-directors working in the industry today.

Creed is a winner!

Creed, directed and written by Ryan Coogler, stars Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Anthony Bellew and Graham McTavish.

Creed is rated PG-13; Running time: is 2 hours 13 minutes.

On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no), N (needs work), L (likeable), O (oh, yeah) and E (excellent), Creed gets an E (excellent).

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