Monday, January 4, 2016


Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) says a couple of good things to his protégé Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) in Creed. One of them occurs when Adonis is poised in a mirror readying himself to shadowbox. Rocky says, “See that guy staring at you. That’s your toughest opponent.” The rest of the film is pap and no match for instance for films like The Fighter, David O Russell’s portrait of the great Mickey Ward or masterpieces like Requiem for a Heavyweight and Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull, which told the story of Jake LaMotta. Here Ryan  Coogler, who directed, relies on pat melodrama. Rocky is diagnosed with non Hodgkins lymphoma as young Adonis, who turns out to be the illegitimate son of the legendary Apollo, steps up to the plate against a seasoned opponent, "Pretty" Ricky Conlan (Tony Bellew). Are Rocky and Adonis up for the fight, respectively for and of their lives? But the real question is the fight. You have boxers and fighters, those who are hard to catch (the boring undefeated Floyd Mayweather epitomizes the former) and those who like to mix up like Tyson,  Foreman Frazier, Hagler and Hearns. Adonis is portrayed as green. He’s had 15 fights in Mexico, but only one real win in a sanctioned bout and he has his work cut out for him in fighting a world champ. To begin with, in reality, such an improbable matchup would never happen. Even considering Adonis’ pedigree, the veteran would have too much to lose in such an upset—even considering that the character in the movie is on his way to prison where he’ll be serving a long jail term. But putting boxing promotion aside, it’s really hard to understand what makes these the two Sammy’s run. Adonis starts off looking like a boxer and his opponent is definitely a classic brawler, but by the end of the fight it’s just the story of Adonis waking up in the middle of a tremendous beating to become the fighter he's meant to be. It’s a great idea. Send a mildly talented fighter in the ring against a master and hope something will be ignited. But what would the great Cus D’Amato have advised? What Creed portrays is manslaughter.

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