I remember when Rocky Balboa, the sixth and most recent film in the definitive boxing franchise, was first announced. On paper, it sounded like a cash grab or a vanity project. How could Sylvester Stallone come back to Rocky at age 60?
But he did. The sixth film was a return to form for the franchise which used Stallone’s age to its benefit. If you take a look at the cumulative critic ratings throughout the franchise, the perceived quality of the films dropped with each new installment until Rocky Balboa, which rated second only to the original.
The forthcoming seventh film in the franchise looks set to uphold that renewed standard. Stallone is now pushing 70, which precludes the possibility of him stepping once more into the ring. But that’s the film’s hook. It’s not really a Rocky film. It’s the start of what may become a new franchise focused on the son of Apollo Creed.
Creed stars Michael B. Jordan in the title role, training under the guidance of an elder Rocky who assumes the mentor role once held by Burgess Meredith’s Mickey. The relationship between the two appears to be the focus of the film. This doesn’t look like ’80s cheese. The Creed trailer evokes the ambiance of the 1976 classic from which it springs.