The former World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Balboa serves as a trainer and mentor to Adonis Johnson, the son of his late friend and former rival Apollo Creed.
I gave up on the Rocky franchise many years ago. None, for me, were ever as good as the original. However, this one I enjoyed in spite of my doubts. Stallone has grown into and was made for this role as the ageing and reluctant trainer/mentor and Michael B. Jordan more than adequately portrayed the wannabe champion with a point to prove.
The boxing sequences were beautifully and realistically shot if that’s not a contradiction when depicting scenes of such visceral brutality.
The story itself was formulaic but that’s okay, we were expecting it. Just like ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’, it took a familiar franchise and brought it right up to date, a successful mix of fresh with original and a stand alone story that nods to old plotlines and characters. If it was covertly targeted at the boomer generation it hit the right note. For those of us who were adults when the original was released I’m sure more than a few could empathise and smile ruefully at Stallone’s scene on the iconic Philadelphia ‘Rocky steps’.
A special mention for the soundtrack. Up to date music was spiced with tiny teasers of the original score which worked, Pavlovian dog style, to ramp up the nostalgia and excitement until when the climax erupted in a rousing few bars of that memorable music I almost cried and laughed at the same time. Nice job!