Sylvester Stallone hands off the Rocky saga to writer-director Ryan Coogler, who makes the aging Italian Stallion the corner man for a younger boxer who is the illegitimate son of his old adversary Apollo Creed. Coogler's acclaimed debut feature, Fruitvale Station (2013), dealt with the real-life police killing of an unarmed black man in San Francisco, but in keeping with Stallone's wholesome formula for the Rocky movies, there's no racial angle here, just a lot of daddy issues. Michael B. Jordan, who played the victim in Fruitvale Station, injects some juice as Adonis Creed, and the muttering Stallone has a few ostensibly touching moments. But anyone hoping the franchise might open out into new thematic territory will be disappointed; this is the same old ritual, from the amped-up training sequences to the climactic title fight with its absurd number of punches landed in every round.
Director: Ryan Coogler
Producer: Irwin Winkler, Robert Chartoff, Charles Winkler, William Chartoff, David Winkler, Kevin King-Templeton, Sylvester Stallone and Nicolas Stern
Cast: Michael Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Andre Ward, Anthony Bellew, Ritchie Coster, Jacob "Stitch" Duran, Graham McTavish, Malik Bazille, Ricardo "Padman" McGill, Gabriel Rosado, Wood Harris, Buddy Osborn, Rupal Pujara, Brian Anthony Wilson and Alex Henderson