CREED. Rocky reboot by the talented Fruitvale Station team.

Creed

After 6 Rocky films and Grudge Match (basically Rocky vs. Raging Bull) the time was apparently ripe for yet another reboot. This film does for the Rocky franchise what The Force Awakens does for the Star Wars franchise: add new blood to a popular series but stay extremely loyal to the initial films and characters. Where The Force Awakens is (mainly) a clone of A New Hope, Creed is a clone of the first Rocky (1976) film.

Creed refers to the new main character Adonis Johnson, the illegitimate child of Apollo Creed, the former adversary and late friend (see Rocky IV) of Rocky Balboa. After his mother died he had a rough childhood untill Creed’s widow decides to take care of him. He wants to step into his father’s footsteps and become a professional boxer. Upto now he’s done some fighting in Mexico but has remained under the radar. He wants to make a name for himself (therefore his bloodline needs to remain a secret) and tries to enlist Rocky Balboa as his trainer.
The movie sticks to the succesfull elements that the audience loved from the original film: sentimentality and ‘uplifting’ fightscenes. There’s a love interest, illness, and a new adversary ‘pretty’ Ricky Conlan and off course training sequences.

Highlight of the film is beyond a doubt an amazing fight sequence shot in one incredible long continuous uninterrupted take, a perfect choreography between the actors and the steadycam operator.
There’s also a copy of (or nod to) the long steadycam shot from Scorsese’s Raging Bull (1980) which starts in the dressing room and shows the end of the warm-up of Jake La Motta, follows him from the catacombs of the stadium up the stairs and into the arena through the spectators to the ring, La Motta goes one way, the camera the other and while De Niro enters the ring, the camera operator steps up a crane and cranes up. It’s not clear if the ‘copied’ shot in Creed is done in a single take as well as there might be a subliminal cut when they move from the dark catacomb into the arena (or via a flash of light).

Check-out this and another homage by watching the 2 below comparison clips:

I can understand the financial logic behind this reboot, but why writer-director Ryan Coogler and actor Michael B. Johnson, the team that brought us the excellent Fruitvale Station (2013), needed to waste their time and talent on this type of predictable, sentimental, rehashed material is beyond me.

Jan Bollen

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