It’s been a while since I’ve written something this self-indulgent. Consider yourself warned.
I just saw CREED. Not the band. I haven't seen them since 2002. CREED is first installment of the Rocky movie franchise reboot. Here’s the trailer.
I loved the Rocky movies growing up - and I still do. And by “Rocky movies” I mean the first four. Rocky V was an abomination. I didn’t see Rocky Balboa (VI) out of fear that I’d be disappointed again. My two sons love the Rocky movies. They watch them for the same reasons I watched them at their age…to get pumped up for no real reason. They may not be great movies, but they are great fun to watch.
CREED is good...almost great. It’s probably the best film in the franchise since Rocky I. Not as fun or as testosteroney as some of the others. But quite good. I give it 7.5 out of 10.
Rocky I — 9 (it won the Oscar in 1976)
Rocky II — 5 (the last 30 minutes are a 12)
Rocky III — 7 (Mr. T and Hulk Hogan)
Rocky IV — 6 (the one I’ve seen the most, by far)
Here’s the CREED scorecard:
Fight Scenes — 10. Incredible. Some really great cinematography and choreography. I can’t say enough good things about the fight scenes.
Training Sequences — 7. Very cool Not quite as epic as Rocky II (after Adrian wakes up from the coma) or Rocky IV (in Russia)…but they’re pretty impressive. Michael B. Jordan is legit.
Love Interest — 5. There’s some decent complexity in the relationship between Adonis and Bianca. I also checked my phone a few times when I imagine the director wanted me to be interested in the love story.
Pacing — 6. Like the first hour of Rocky I and II, CREED’s first hour was kinda boring. It’s a 2:15 movie that could easily be 1:45.
Rocky’s Family — 9. They’re all dead or gone. That’s a good thing. I was ready to move on from all of the old characters.
Villan — 4. Nothing menacing about the bad guy (Conlan) other than his temper. He’s kinda doughy - not physically imposing in any way. But he is from England and his trainer has some pretty great facial hair.
Music — 7. Several nice callbacks to themes from I and II. Mixed in some hiphop and rap, which I liked. I was really hoping for a great new them song for this reboot (like “Eye of the Tiger” in III or “Hearts on Fire” in IV). I guess we’ll have to wait for the sequel.
Stallone — 9. He’s perfect - funny in the ways Rocky is supposed to be funny. I like that he scaled back the “Rocky has brain damage” affect. Both the actor and the character have aged well.
Bottom line: If you like Rocky movies, you should see CREED.
Thanks for indulging me. Happy Advent to you and yours.