Friday, April 14, 2023

‘Creed III’ a story of determination, strength

By Matt Pascarella

Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 1 hour, 56 minutes

Son of Apollo Creed, Adonis Creed, is enjoying life after becoming heavyweight champion. He is currently working as a promoter and owner of the Delphi Academy with his trainer Tony “Little Duke” Burton. When childhood friend Damian Anderson is back in town after being released from prison, Anderson’s presence complicates matters for Adonis, when it becomes evident Anderson wants some type of revenge. This was a fast-paced movie with an engaging storyline that had me anxious to see how it would end.

“Creed III” stars: Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson, Jonathan Majors, Wood Harris, Phylicia Rashad, Mila Davis-Kent, Jose Benavidez, Selenis Leyva, Thaddeus J. Mixson and Spence Moore II.

Los Angeles, 2002; a young Adonis Creed (Mixson) sneaks out of his house at night to see his friend, Damian “Diamond Dame” Anderson (Moore II) fight in an underground boxing match.

An incident at a liquor store sends the two lives in completely different directions.

South Africa, 2017; Adonis Creed is fighting to become the heavyweight champion.

In the present day, Creed is retired. He is having tea with his daughter, Amara (Davis-Kent) who is hearing impaired. The movie features a lot of American Sign Language, which I thought was cool.

Creed runs a gym and is a boxing promoter. He is promoting fighter, Felix Chavez (Benavidez) to become the next heavyweight champion.

Creed runs into Anderson (Majors) outside of his gym. Anderson just got out of jail after serving a lengthy sentence. His aspirations pick up right where they left off and tells Creed he wants be the champ, and Creed should take a chance on him.

Creed’s trainer, Tony Burton (Harris) tells him he owes Anderson nothing. And getting involved with him is a bad idea.

Creed and wife Bianca (Thompson) have concerns when Amara gets in a fight at school. Creed later secretly teaches his daughter to fight.

When a fight breaks out at an event, a spot opens up for Anderson to fight Chavez. Anderson is not a crowd favorite, and the fight gets uglier than expected.

Anderson tells Creed he’s coming for everything in a not-so-thinly veiled threat.

Anderson wants to fight Creed. It seems like the only way to stop Anderson is to beat him in the ring. Can Creed do it?

This is the ninth movie in the “Rocky” franchise and has moved away from Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone). I hadn’t seen the first two “Creed” movies, but it didn’t take me long to piece the story together – the movie does a good job of recapping Creed’s past. In his directorial debut, Jordan gives a great performance as a boxer who left boxing, but boxing hasn’t left him. Watching the fights in this movie is like having ringside seats and the camera angles and well-timed fast and slow-motion actuates key moments of every fight, including the final bout.

Aside from the themes of determination and compassion, this story also emphasizes the role/importance of family, with Creed struggling to communicate his past to Bianca and trying to decide how much of boxing his daughter should be exposed to. There is heavy language in some lyrics early in the movie and moderate language from there on out. Plus, it’s kind of violent and a little bloody. I really enjoyed “Creed III.” If you can, see it on the big screen for maximum effect.

Two thumbs up.

Now playing in select theaters and available to rent. <

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