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Film Reviews by Lisa Blanck
Creed III
| Tuesday, 03.07.2023, 04:46 AM |   (157 views)

Photo by MGM - © Photo credit: Eli Ade © 2022 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. All Rights Reserved. 

Creed III has all the usual elements of any boxing movie in the Rocky series, but this, the ninth film in the catalog, has one exception - Sly Stallone is absent from the screen.  Yet even without Stallone being physically present, his presence is felt among the story’s jabs and fades; in fact, he and Creed I director Ryan Coogler produced this third in the Creed series.  Even Apollo’s old rival Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu) gets to show up, and show off his moves once again. 

Creed III again stars Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed, raised by dad Apollo and his adoptive mom Mary-Anne (Phylicia Rashad), and this time Jordan also has directorial chair.  His main rival, and co-combatant, is Damian “Diamond Dame” Anderson (Jonathan Majors), who was more than a childhood friend to him. If you ask either one of them, they were brothers, undergoing the same highs and lows, which sets up my not quite falling for the premise of the bulk of the narrative.

When Creed was growing up, he looked up to Damian as a mentor AND as a protector.  And Damian protected Apollo with his life.  Damian had already made a name for himself in the ring, and Creed did little more than carry his game bag.  Flash forward, Damian has come upon some hard times, while Apollo has risen to the top of the boxing game.  Creed is married to Bianca (Tessa Tompson) and an involved dad who easily signs with his deaf daughter, Amara.  He’s also very much retired and owns a boxing training center for up and comers.  Damian is living alone in a one-room efficiency.

Dame decides to look up Apollo.  He’s not looking for a handout, just a hand up.  He wants to pick up his life before it got stolen from him.  But words are exchanged, threats made, and things get out of hand, as things will do. 

And this is why I say Creed III has the usual, expected  elements with almost no surprises.  I didn’t hate it, I just didn’t find it to be particularly memorable, except for two things – the first being the boxing choreography.

I’m not a boxing fan by any means, but I must say straight out that the boxing choreography in Creed III was stupendous.  You could actually see the thought behind each punch, the calculation, the intensity of the mind-game being played inside the ropes.  There’s so much frustration on the part of Dame for what he’s gone through, protecting Apollo, and the anger plays itself out in the ring.  It’s not just a slug-fest.  It’s a dance between champions.

So what’s the second thing that makes it memorable?  I gotta go with the obvious swoons heard from the other women in the audience.  Yep, seeing two half-dressed men  in their prime on screen, well, that’s worth noting.  Sometimes you gotta state the obvious and go for the easy pickings.

If you’re expecting this to be another ‘cheering for the underdog’ movie, you’ll have to think again.  Because it’s very clear who the underdog is, and it’s not the guy living in the penthouse.  It’s the guy who took the hit for his ‘brother’, a brother who, in my opinion, did not quite do the right thing when push came to shove.  But it gives us the set-up for The Battle Of Los Angeles, a fight of not just fists, but the battling egos of Creed and Dame.

This has been a good year for Jordan; not only did he chair the film, but shortly after its’ release, he received his star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.  Will there be a Creed IV?  Well, Stallone said after Rocky 3 that there wouldn’t be another, and we all know that was quite the celluloid fib.  With the appearance of Drago in Creed III, I’m not going to be the one to give Apollo’s boxing career the permanent 10-count.

Lisa Blanck is the Associate Editor and Movie Reviewer for In Focus  Her background includes 30+ years of digital editing for WESH2 News and WKMG News.  She also edits on-air promotional spots for Matter Of Fact, a highly-rated nationally syndicated news and information program.  For more than 30 years she has covered the Florida Film Festival and the World Peace Film Festival, with additional experience in advertising, marketing, promotions and live special events at MTV Networks.  She was previously a columnist for the Focus In Newspaper.

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