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Review: 'Creed' has plenty of punch

Review: 'Creed' has plenty of punch


Adonis Johnson (Michael B. Jordan) has been a fighter since long before he stepped into the ring. Behind his easy smile is an anger he can’t always control – an anger that has been there since he was a child.

He not only likes to box, but has to, and it helps that he’s good at it. But then, he should be. His father was Apollo Creed, whose fights with Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) have gone down in boxing history as legendary.

Even though embracing his father’s legacy would be a significant advantage, Adonis is determined to make it on his own. But he also realizes that he needs a trainer who can take him to the next level.

And as much as he might hate to admit it, he knows who that trainer is: Balboa.

The Italian Stallion hasn’t been near his old gym in years and isn’t exactly eager to take Adonis on. What he’s not prepared for is just how insistent the young fighter can be.

Also in Adonis’ corner is Bianca (Tessa Thompson), a singer who’s struggling with her own challenges.

With their help, Adonis Johnson gets his shot at glory. But does he have what it takes to be Adonis Creed?

Whether viewed as a spinoff or as a sequel, “Creed” is a thrilling addition to the “Rocky” saga — and another triumph for Jordan and director Ryan Coogler, who last teamed up on the breakout 2013 indie flick “Fruitvale Station.” Working from a screenplay that he co-wrote with Aaron Covington, Coogler delivers a boxing movie for the millennial generation.

In a performance that should help his fans forget “Fantastic Four,” Jordan is flat-out terrific. Stallone brings to his familiar role as Rocky a nuanced vulnerability. And Thompson makes a strong impression as a woman who is every bit Adonis’ equal.

Often, extending a movie franchise signifies a lack of imagination. But “Creed” is a knockout.

What “Creed” • Four stars out of four • Rating PG-13 • Content Violence, language, sensuality • Run time 2:09

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