Cine Reviews: ‘CREED’ (2015)

Directed by Ryan Coogler who proved himself worthy of praise with his smash indie hit ‘Fruitvale Station’ back in 2013 also starring Michael B. Jordan, ‘Creed’ once again showcases the young director’s skill in the latest chapter in the Rocky saga.

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Outpouring with emotion and dripping with grit, ‘Creed’ hits all the right marks with the powerful blows it launches. Serving as both a continuation of 2006’s ‘Rocky Balboa’ as well a spin-off, director Ryan Coogler weaves a new story that discovers its character’s true purpose. Die-hard fans of ‘Rocky’ will love the numerous callbacks to the earlier films, but there’s more to cherish in this new chapter of the saga. To drift away from revisiting the past, the film guarantees that you will adore Adonis Creed even more than the throwbacks to the earlier films. The best of the old and the new are thrown together to form a potent mix but Adonis’ endeavor manages to make our hearts warm and our eyes a bit teary with the utilization of realism that doesn’t fail to be relatable. But to also pay respect to the original, the story also gives a brief background on Rocky as we explore his grief, venture to his past & focus on his present to fully strengthen his characterization. There are a lot  of wondrous moments which truly inspire; doing their best to motivate. The narrative had the capability to be hard-hitting, and it wasn’t afraid to show that it could be just that. Its weight is perfectly balanced; juggling the amount of stinging harshness and deep profoundness through Adonis Creed, our protagonist.

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We are provided with a story that states the obvious in regards to us reaching our goals, but not only in the sense of  it being a sports-drama. One could judge that at times, the film could get formulaic but then again one could argue that it is all written with great love and a thoughtful mind. Things get intimate, and being a personal journey it presents to us a rather sad tale about finding oneself and proving one’s pride. Doing it with such impact, it hits us hard to the core and knocks all of our senses senseless. The film depicts this with honesty and the will to be wholehearted. The dialogues are laden with intimacy and they are just really lovely. Believe it or not, this will have you affected whether you are rooting or feeling solemn for our titular protagonist. Uttering the term  “powerful” as a brief description for ‘Creed’ are words that shouldn’t be taken back from one’s mouth for it truly deserves those words of praise.

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The intensity of the boxing aspect is fully given light on, and is all depicted rather relentlessly. Every fight scene is sweating with total grittiness, taking us to the ring and letting us witness everything up-close and personal. There isn’t a lot of big fights to look out for, but the training sequences are sure to pump us up with the blaring music that surely keeps us motivated. But since this a film that involves the art of boxing, one should look out for the fierce, intense, and extremely gripping finale that makes us feel as if we are watching a real boxing match thanks to its’ cinematography that deceives us into thinking that everything happening onscreen is real. It is both explosive and intense, managing to TKO the hell out of us with every jab it throws. The big intro to the finale notably uses a classic Hip-Hop song; 2Pac’s ‘Hail Mary’ and it could’ve not been used more fittingly to lure us into this deadly brawl. With the amount of crowd-appeal put into Adonis, we are guaranteed to cheer as he steps into the ring and fights for his life. This climax is just perfect, as it ultimately rewards with greatness after all the character has been through. Not to forget the fact that the match was brilliantly shot and completely fulfills Adonis’ goals; to win for himself, and to win our hearts.

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Emphasizing the “inspiring” nature of the film, as the story progresses and digs deeper into the goals of our protagonist, the more we are convinced that we are not only seeing a character that is a creation of fiction, but rather a real “fighter” that embodies every single one of us. The line between reality and fiction are blurred as we are given the chance to experience the life of a boxer for the duration of the film. Michael B. Jordan proves early on that we should stay and endure this painful journey he has to take on to determine his namesake and live up to his father’s legacy. His spot-on portrayal involves emotions and physicality. The words he utter from his mouth come straight from the heart, but the hits his fists pummel show his truer feelings; justifying the saying “Actions speak louder than words”. Along the journey, we are given two other central characters for us to enjoy.

One would be the great Rocky Balboa (Stallone) and the other would be Bianca (Tessa Thompson). The return of Stallone’s iconic crowd-favorite isn’t only there to bring advice, but also to provide us with great moments featuring him and Adonis. The little talks the two have contain so much passion and quasi-familial love that never ceases to hit us right in the heart with the outburst of emotions. The film didn’t only rendered him as mentor, but also as the father Adonis never had; adding more significance to the story. Stallone’s performance is wholly sensational and is absolutely a crowd-pleaser. After the credits roll, you’ll wish that Rocky would be your mentor with the wisdom that emanates from him as it depicted a very passionate bond between him and Adonis. Meanwhile, Tessa Thompson’s Bianca forms a romance with Adonis that gives him life, and the relationship that the two get entangled into is sweet. The authenticity exerted into the characters is perhaps one of the best things as it brings out the winner in all of us and all of the actors’ performances are marvelous.

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‘Creed’ has something to prove, and it has something to do with it being one of this year’s “champs”. Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone are a powerful combination and the forceful finale just screams remorseless; we couldn’t be saved by the bell from it. Immensely motivational, heavily intense and all the way moving, it is a knock-out punch with the enticing entertainment it brings and the solid, uncompromising story it tells. In better and shorter words, ‘Creed’ is an ultimate triumph. You would definitely clamor for a round 2.

4.5/5 stars.

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‘Creed’ opens in Philippine cinemas tomorrow December 9 (Wednesday) from Warner Bros. Pictures (Philippines). Rated PG by the MTRCB.

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