Creed III (2023)

March 1st, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir.: Michael B. Jordan; Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson, Jonathan Majors, Phylicia Rashad, Mila Davis-Kent; USA 2023, 116 min.

With Creed III nearly 50 years of Hollywood’s boxing history has been relegated to the back burner. What started in 1976 with Sylvester Stalone’s rollocking Rocky Bilbao is now in the hands of titular star and debut director Michael B. Jordan and veteran producer Irwin Winkler (Goodfellas, The Irishman). And it shows.

Avenging his father to become World Heavy Weight champion, Adonis Creed (Jordan) has settled down as a family man and boxing promoter residing in a super posh penthouse above the Hollywood Hills. His wife, the singer Bianca (Thompson), has given birth to baby daughter Amara (Davis Kent), super cute, but prone to violence in the Kindergarten. The past then rears its ugly head in the shape of Damian (Majors) who rocks up after 18 years behind bars to face his old school mate Adonis in the ring. The face off between the two egos is going to be interesting.

Creed III is pure melodrama with family relationships taking centre stage rather than the fighting, which is now reduced to an art form unfolding in a series of dazzling set pieces, rather than brutal set-tos. Creed III has been neutered, with Damian as the pantomime villain rather than a menacing hero. There is too much talk, and not really enough trousers, not to mention some really bad parenting, with Bianca letting Amara watch Dad fight in the ring.

The production values are on top form with DoP Kramar Morgenthau conjuring up some impressive fight scenes, panorama shots and stunning luxury apartments: but what ever happened to the raw Rocky of the ring?. Creed III is too slick for its own good, a triumph of consumer dreams. AS


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