Starring Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad and Anthony Bellew. Written by Ryan Coogler and Aaron Covington. Directed by Ryan Coogler.
Budget $35 million. Running Time:133 minutes
This is the 7th film in the Rocky series and comes 39 years after the original film. Following the adventures of Apollo Creed's son, this is the riches to rags story of a young man trying to climb out from under the shadow of his dead father and make a name for himself.
Michael B. Jordan is a fantastic actor and he works extremely hard to make this work and it's a delight to say he succeeds. This is a typical sports movie that has all the tropes you'd expect and sadly that's what ultimately costs the film a 9/10 score. The film so closely adheres itself to the classic Hollywood three-act structure that when the third act thunks down with such a 'thud' that you actually jump out of your seat, it's so bloody obvious that you groan – 'oh god' as our hero is left with everything going wrong and having to fight to get it all back, but will he refind his mojo before the final fight? Will he win back his girl? Will he repair his relationship with his mentor?' Well, it won't take a rocket scientist to work out those answers.
What's great about this film is Stallone and Jordan, they have a great and easy chemistry and Stallone is great as Rocky, he brings him to life with such ease you begin to think that Stallone isn't acting, but it's clear he must be.
Sadly what isn't as convincing or enjoyable is the actual fights which feel a tad claustrophobic and uninspiring, unlike the other Rockys. And sadly there's never any fear that Creed's main opponent or the outcome of the fight is ever in doubt.
This one goes to the wire, but the journey is highly enjoyable even if, by the final bell it loses some of its momentum and fun.