Rocky Franchise Revived with Compelling, Character-Driven Spin-Off



Film Review by Kam Williams

Rocky Franchise Revived with Compelling, Character-Driven Spin-Off

When most people think of Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), what automatically comes to mind is the iconic image of a gutsy underdog easy to root for who held his own in the boxing ring against a variety of imposing adversaries. Each installment of the series has basically revolved around the hype leading to a riveting championship bout between a veritable David and Goliath.

Creed, Film Review, Sylvester Stallone, Rocky Balboa, David and Goliath, Michael B. Jordan, boxing

Directed by Ryan Coogler, Creed is a worthy spin-off which not only pays homage to that tried-and-true formula but also represents a bit of departure for the beloved franchise. What’s new is the fact that this film devotes as much attention to character development as to ratcheting up the tension surrounding the fateful showdown.

Creed, Film Review, Sylvester Stallone, Rocky Balboa, David and Goliath, Michael B. Jordan, boxing

The picture reunites Coogler with Michael B. Jordan, the star of his directorial debut, the critically-acclaimed Frutivale Station. Here, Jordan plays, Adonis Johnson, a juvenile delinquent who’s had his share of scrapes with the law, thanks to a quick temper and a tendency to settle differences with a pair of unusually powerful fists.

Just past the point of departure, the hot-headed orphan is informed by Apollo Creed’s (Carl Weathers) widow (Phylicia Rashad) that he is the illegitimate son of Rocky’s original archenemy. That at least explains the inclination to fight that’s ostensibly been baked into his DNA.

Fast-forward a few years, when Adonis has learned to channel his anger and explosive might via boxing. Over the objections of his adoptive mom (Mrs. Creed) he decides to follow in his father’s footsteps.

So, he moves from L.A. to Philly where he finds Rocky running a restaurant called Adrian’s. Adonis prevails upon the ex-champ to serve as his trainer. Rocky agrees on the condition the kid changes his surname to Creed, and the next thing you know the kid rises in the ranks to #1 contender and luckily lands a title fight with Pretty Ricky Conlan (Tony Bellow).

Creed, Film Review, Sylvester Stallone, Rocky Balboa, David and Goliath, Michael B. Jordan, boxing

Meanwhile, Adonis falls in love with his next-door neighbor, Bianca (Tessa Thompson), an aspiring hip-hop artist on the verge of making it in her own right. Away from the gym, he spends some quality time with Rocky, too, offering a little heartfelt, if unsolicited advice that just might save his aging mentor’s life.Creed, Film Review, Sylvester Stallone, Rocky Balboa, David and Goliath, Michael B. Jordan, boxing

“Rocky” and the next Roman numeral might not be in the title, but this engaging and faithful seventh episode includes all the fixins to amount to a highly-recommended spin-off of the storied franchise.

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated PG-13 for violence, profanity and sensuality

Running time: 95 minutes

Distributor: Warner Brothers Pictures

To see a trailer for Creed, visit:


For movies opening October 28, 2016

  OPENING THIS WEEK Kam's Kapsules Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun by Kam Williams For movies opening October 28, 2016 BIG BUDGET FILMS Inferno (PG-13 for action, violence, profanity, disturbing images, mature themes and brief sensuality) Third installment of The Da Vinci Code franchise finds symbologist Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks) suffering from amnesia and on the run with his physician (Felicity Jones) from a billionaire geneticist (Ben Foster) with a … [Read More its Good for You...]



PEEP AND EGG: I’M NOT TRICK-OR-TREATING...TWO SIBLING CHICKS, ONE GREAT HALLOWEEN DEBATE Peep can’t wait for Halloween to start, but the younger Egg has a long list of reasons to wish it would not. In a scene familiar to many families, the prospect of trick-or-treating conjures costumes and candy for some, while others are haunted by thoughts of vampires, mummies, witches and ghosts, real or imagined. Peep and Egg, two delightful sibling characters introduced this spring … [Read More its Good for You...]


ART EXHIBITION: 150 Years After The Civil War

  Cynthia Groya 150 Years After The Civil War: A Contemporary Perspective January 10 - March 6, 2016 Artist's Reception: Sunday, January 24, 3:00 - 5:00 pm Nassau Club 6 Mercer Street  Princeton, NJ 08540 The ideas reflected in Groya's paintings express a conversation about struggle for equal rights in our culture, in our time. The origin of this struggle can be traced to The Civil War in our country, which ended 150 years ago. The … [Read More its Good for You...]

Real Estate

Castles in America

  Castles in America by Amy Lignor   Robin Leach and his “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” taught us all long ago that we absolutely love to sit and view ridiculous luxury (usually owned by people who inherited all of it and didn’t work a day in their lives). See that? We had to complain about something as we were beguiled by the amount of money people would send to own or create the “best of the best.” Even though some things were referred to as the “gaudiest of … [Read More its Good for You...]


It’s Not Your “Grandma’s” Pumpkin Anymore

  It’s Not Your “Grandma’s” Pumpkin Anymore by Amy Lignor   As times move forward, technology expands. However, so does the imagination. No, I’m not talking about a new cell phone or animatronic device that creates pumpkins; I’m talking about some seriously cool ways to carve pumpkins that are popping up all over the internet. Unique, awesome, colorful – people across the U.S. have used their imaginations during the 21st century to create some of the most stunning … [Read More it Good for You...]


Finally, a Boat Shoe You Can Get Wet

  Finally, a boat shoe you can get wet   By Craig Lamb   I am happiest with wet feet. For me, that means wading a shallow saltwater flat, casting for tailing redfish. Or paddling aboard my sit-on-top kayak, cruising a river in search of smallmouth bass. Not my favorite, but when the fish are biting, fishing in the rain.   Yep, I do like getting my feet wet, but it can get downright annoying when my shoes stay wet. Footing is a challenge when shoes … [Read More its Good for You...]


Saying Goodbye to Legends…

    Saying Goodbye to Legends… by Amy Lignor   When someone you admire departs the Earth, it is extremely sad to come to terms with. In the days just passed, people and fans had to deal with the departure of two men from the world of sports. Although one perhaps was not a surprise, seeing as that the gentleman lived a good, long life, the other departure was shocking. One was a legend, while the other was on the road to becoming just that.    When … [Read More its Good for You...]


The Business of “Fear” Brings in $8 Billion a Year

  The Business of “Fear” Brings in $8 Billion a Year by Amy Lignor   There are aspects of Halloween everyone knows about. From the scary boogeyman to the haunted houses set up in cities and counties from sea to shining sea, the world certainly understands that the “frightening” is also the “entertaining” when it comes to All Hallows Eve. What most may not know, however, is the fact that Halloween is a billion (yes, BILLION) dollar industry. People are more than … [Read More its Good for You...]


I Double Dare You!

  I Double Dare You! by Amy Lignor   Haunted houses, zombie-filled corn fields, small towns that like to get together and light up the night with scary-faced pumpkins – there are all different types of Halloween events and haunts you can take the kids to and have a good time. And we’ve researched and reported on the best of them. But if you’re one of those…those who like the macabre…there are places around the globe that offer far more than just a “spooky” … [Read More its Good for You...]