Creed (2016) – By Dan Wright
Midweek midday cinema has become my new drug of choice. The wave of pleasure that sates the soul when sat in a 200 seat theatre facing a giant digital screen in the company of no more than 3 other people is, to paraphrase ‘Trainspotting’, better than any hot beef injection in the fucking world.
It doesn’t attract many people, but those that are there are guaranteed ‘colourful characters’, loons, eccentrics and weirdos. If you are having trouble spotting one, well – you know.
There are no better films to share in such company than Rocky films. As an emotionless brick (I haven’t cried at a film since ‘The Champ’ when I was 10 years old – must be something about damaged boxers) they are the only films that bring me close to tears.
‘Creed’ is the perfect example of how a reboot should work – all the classic lines make their way in:
“Women weaken legs”
“It’s not about how hard you can hit…”
‘Child Punching’ Chet (not his real name) sat in row H on the opposite side of the theatre cheered every single one – which may have irked ‘Pants Down’ Pete (not his real name) as he got so cross he stood up to remonstrate which sent his trousers slipping to his ankles. Let it never be said that the Odeon in Bracknell does not create an interactive viewing experience.
After I had entertained the room with my witty comments during the adverts (I asked my companion if every film, from ‘Dirty Grandpa’ to ‘The Big Short’ was ‘The Revenant’ – we laughed and laughed) the anticipation was so great that I was nearly in bits as soon as Bill Cosby’s wife helped the little boy – after all she must have been through this was indeed the extra mile.
From there on in it was nostalgia layered on heartbreak that kept my voice at a painfully croaking dryness every time I launched an expertly-timed heckle.
‘Creed’ is a wistful retelling of the original story rebooted for a new age. Stallone is an on-screen force and ushers in the new era with generosity and care.
I was hoping to see Duke, but that did not happen – Avon Barksdale from The Wire had a wee cameo as his son, but it’s not the same.
Everything was there. We had a training montage; Adonis was paralysed by emotional turmoil, then he overcame it in time to make the fight; an opponent who was unnecessarily angry with Adonis – even though he asked him for the fight; a distracting love interest (women weaken legs) and some ridiculously brutal fight scenes that would never be allowed in a licensed boxing match.
The whole experience left all four of us so pumped up that Child Punching Chet caught my son with a left cross while shadow boxing to the closing strains of the Rocky theme as we left. We laughed and laughed.
If you like crying at the sight of a statue of a fictional character in the company of people you would report if they were loitering outside your house for more than five minutes – go to the Odeon in Bracknell any weekday about 1pm and watch pretty much any film that contains a statue. This one will do if it’s still on.
Written by Dan Wright