Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan in "Creed"//MCT Campus

Sylvester Stallone and Michael B. Jordan in “Creed”//Photo courtesy of MCT Campus

By Jenise Burwell, Staff writer

After loading up on Thanksgiving turkey, apple pies and apple cider, movie theaters were jammed packed with fans eagerly waiting to fill the seats to see the 2015 American boxing flick Creed. The Rocky spinoff stars Fruitvale Station’s Michael B Jordan, Beyond the Lights Tessa Thompson and none other than Mr. Balboa himself, Sylvester Stallone. You don’t need to know of previous Rocky films in order to understand or even be moved by this film. It incorporates the passion of boxing, the love of family, the struggle of finding one’s self, and the courage and discipline to overcome life’s many challenges and struggles every human being can relate to.

The film opens up introducing us an Adonis “Donnie” Johnson, the son of the late heavyweight champion Apollo Creed who died in the ring. Donnie has steered down a path of trouble and fights, bringing him to serve time in a youth facility. Creed’s widow, Mary Anne played by Phylicia Rashad, comes to visit him one day and offers to take him in and give him a second chance at a life he deserves.

Fast forward the years and young Donnie is now a young man working a great job at a security firm but is unfulfilled and yearns to fight as a professional boxer. Despite Mary Anne’s disapproval and strict warnings to not follow in his father’s footsteps and potentially end up with the same fate, Johnson follows his dreams and travels to Philadelphia to train and embark on a life changing journey.

Balboa comes in the film as owner of an Italian restaurant appropriately called Adrian’s and a retired fighter trying to live a simple and peaceful life. Donnie tracks him down in hopes of the champ becoming his mentor and trainer. Stallone, settled and content with his life is reluctant and uninterested in doing anything of the sort, stating “I had my time.” A persistent Donnie eventually persuades Rocky to join him and take on the task and the two become a remarkable duo.

From this point on in the film, it is pure magic on the screen. Donnie and Rocky share an undeniable and heartwarming relationship, in which Donnie even refers to Rocky as “Unc,” the two not only bond over a love of the sport but take on a role of support systems for one another and bringing out nothing but the absolute best in each other.

As the film progresses, it leads up to Donnie’s most important match which for the first time he will be fighting under his father’s last name, coming out the shadow of his father’s legacy and establishing himself as his own person. Johnson takes on world lightweight champion “Pretty” Ricky Conlan, and this is the point in the film that makes director Ryan Coogler a certified genius. With every frame, fans get a front row seat to a match made in heaven. Every slow motion punch thrown and landed, every drop of blood that spews from the mouth, each drop of sweat that drips onto the floor of the canvassed ring, movie lovers feel it all.

Whether you’re cheering, screaming, or even if your eyes fill up with water, this film from beginning to end is perfection, delivering Oscar worthy performances from Jordan who completely embodied the grit of an up and coming struggling boxer or Stallone who is truly a gem and absolutely hasn’t lost an ounce of the Rocky magic which we were first introduced to almost forty years ago. Coogler and along with the cast give us an extraordinary film on love, passion, family, discipline and most importantly a true lesson in never giving up on a dream or yourself and no matter what the fight or battle, keep throwing those punches and never stay down.