MOVIE: Rocky spin-off 'Creed' really packs a punch
IT'S always risky resurrecting a beloved film series.
After all, it could turn out great (Jurassic World, Mad Max: Fury Road) or backfire terribly (Terminator Genisys, Fantastic Four).
Fortunately, Rocky spin-off Creed is one of the good ones.
Creed stars Michael B. Jordan as Adonis "Donny" Johnson, illegitimate son of boxing champion Apollo Creed, who died in the ring in Rocky IV.
Following a troubled childhood, teenage Adonis is taken in by Apollo's wife Mary Anne (Phylicia Rashad) and raised in the lap of luxury.
As an adult he quits his job and, hoping to become a boxer himself, travels to Philadelphia where he approaches his father's rival - Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) - to train him.
While Rocky Balboa (2006) was disappointing, Creed is a massive step in the right direction for the series.
Written and directed by up-and-comer Ryan Coogler rather than Stallone himself, the film offers a fresh perspective, shifting the focus to Adonis rather than Rocky.
Jordan makes up for his appearance in this year's dud Fantastic Four reboot by putting in a powerful performance as the young fighter struggling to fill his father's American flag boxing trunks.
But it's the bond between Creed Jr and his reluctant mentor that's easily the best part of the movie.
Playing a more vulnerable, aging Rocky, 69-year-old Stallone is better than ever, reminding us that he's actually a very good actor when he wants to be.
Believe it or not, his performance has already generated Oscar buzz.
I don't know if I'd really like to see five Creed sequels, but it's nice to have the Rocky series back in good shape.
Starring: Michael B Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tess Thompson, Phylicia Rashad
Reviewer: Matthew Pearce
Verdict: four stars