“Creed” tells the story of Adonis “Donny” Creed (Michael B. Jordan), son of legendary boxer Apollo Creed. And who was Apollo Creed’s most famous opponent? That’s right, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone). Some say that this should be considered a seventh “Rocky” movie, I say that it’s perfectly fine simply being the first “Creed.”

Although young Donny doesn’t want to use the Creed name to help his career, he does use his family history to convince the aged Rocky to be his trainer. Rocky uses his influence to get Donny a major fight against a local standout (Gabe Rosato), and this leads to Donny getting a shot at the title against the undefeated world champion (Tony Bellew). Donny is suddenly in over his head, being given a title shot that no one thinks he’s earned. Sound familiar?

In fact the biggest problem with “Creed” is that it progresses so similarly to the first “Rocky.” There’s the completely expected conflict, romance, training (this movie has Donny do the classic “Rocky” exercise with the moving meat, but not the one with the hanging meat, much to my disappointment), and of course, the spectacle of the final fight. He spends most of it at a disadvantage, what a shocker.

But the predictable story shouldn’t take away from what “Creed” does right. These elements include award-worthy acting, well-written characters, and harrowing fight sequences (including one done in an unbroken shot). Plus it’s hard not to get pumped up suckered into cheering just as much as with any “Rocky” movie. It’s everything you expect, but it’s also everything you want.

I suppose that “Creed” not wanting to use the “Rocky” title for name recognition is similar to Donny not wanting to use the Creed name to help his career. And as with Adonis Creed, this movie fights to earn respect and I believe it succeeds. It is admirable in its own right.


“Creed” is rated PG-13 for violence, language and some sensuality. Its running time is 133 minutes.


By Bob Garver