It was Nietzsche who said ‘if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.’ As I stood teetering over the edge of disaster, overlooking a circular slide that would plunge me into ice cold water, I was certainly consumed by some kind of abyss…
“I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered…”
‘But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward…’
It didn’t start as a Rocky marathon… I was only supposed to watch the first two but then I found myself so wrapped up in the story of the Italian Stallion that I had to carry on. Well I say that, in actuality, it was my wife watching them for the first time who was obviously baying for blood so much that she couldn’t turn them off. And so it came to pass that I watched Rocky I, II, III and IV back to back. Here is what I learnt:
‘They say Rome wasn’t built in a day, but I wasn’t on that particular job...’
Heart wrenching, stomach churning viewing…
Back to the Baize…
A dramatic retelling of the ‘golden age of snooker’ might sound like an extremely tedious affair to some, but being a big fan of snooker I was interested to see how the BBC would fare with this exclusive to iplayer production.
Creed draws on the entire Rocky canon’s rich history to reinvigorate an ailing franchise…
Whilst Rocky Balboa was no disgrace, it did feel like a franchise on it’s knees as believability was at all time low. What better way then for Sylvester Stallone to claw back some credibility by relinquishing some control on his most beloved invention and allowing up and coming director Ryan Coogler the chance to breath some life into a legend.
Coogler’s only previous feature film was the powerful and affecting Fruitvale Station. In sticking with Michael B. Jordan from that film, Coogler has a genuine future star in the eponymous role and it is Jordan who keeps things grounded in the more emotionally taxing scenes.
Much has been made of Sly’s surprising Oscar nomination and whilst it has a slight tinge of lifetime achievement award about it there is no denying that Stallone now has so much emotionally invested in this character. In a lifetime of returning to Rocky Balboa, Stallone can share The Italian Stallion’s heartbreak and world-weariness and this makes for a strong and nuanced performance.
where it all began
Creed falls down somewhat in the supporting cast. Aside from a spirited turn from Tessa Thompson, Creed badly misses a Paulie or a Mickey or indeed an Apollo Creed. Real life boxer Tony Bellew brings some realism and gravitas to the actual boxing scenes but as an antagonist he is largely forgettable. Obviously being a Rocky film the fighting isn’t too realistic but this is a series trademark as much as a training montage and Apollo’s red, white and blue shorts.
In looking back through the entire Rocky franchise, Coogler, Stallone and Michael B. Jordan have pushed Creed forwards to the point where a sequel would not only be welcome but also highly anticipated.