Fans of the Rocky franchise aren’t as outwardly fanatical as Star Wars geeks but make no mistake we’re pretty rabid when it comes to all things Mr. Balboa. There are always rumors of a Rocky flick coming out. Sometimes they materialize and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes the rumors are way off such as when it was heavily speculated that Rocky’s son Robert would become a fighter trained by his dad in 2006’s Rocky Balboa, the sixth film in the franchise. For the past nine years the rumor mill once again churned out talks of yet another Rocky film. I met the rumors with a healthy level of skepticism as I didn’t know how they would approach a seventh installment. What gave me hope however was how confident Sly Stallone seemed when he was asked questions about a new Rocky film in interviews. He seemed to have a secret no one else knew about.
I was as excited as I was shocked when I found out that a Rocky VII trailer was on YouTube. The first thing I saw was a thumbnail of Michael B. Jordan, the star of Fruitvale Station. That was a great movie I rented on iTunes just a few weeks prior. The trailer was simply titled, “Creed”.
Even a casual Rocky fan knows that Creed is the last name of Apollo, the heavyweight champion of the world who gave an unknown Rocky Balboa his shot. A wonderfully written character, Apollo Creed was based on the great Muhammad Ali. He was the American dream personified, an African American man who fought his way from poverty to become the flashy, rich, intelligent, and classy heavyweight champ. Throughout the franchise, we saw the friendship between Rocky and Apollo blossom right up until the moment Apollo was killed in the ring by Ivan Drago in Rocky IV.
As soon as I saw the word Creed, all of this ran through my head at FiOS fiber optic speed. I finally clicked the link and the first thing I see is Michael B. Jordan in what seems to be some kind of cellar punching a cement wall and gearing up for a fight. I don’t want to take you through the trailer shot by shot. I want you to watch it but what it seems like is going on is that Michael B. Jordan has relocated to Philadelphia against the wishes of his family and friends to train as a fighter. The highlight is definitely when Michael B. Jordan reveals to Rocky that he is Apollo’s son. Whoever put this trailer together knew what they were doing because it is truly incredible and it is set against Lupe Fiasco’s phenomenally cinematic song Prisoner 1 & 2 which only adds to it.
Now here is what I know that’s not featured in the trailer. If you noticed, I didn’t mention Apollo’s son’s name in the movie. Well, his name is Adonis but here’s the kicker. His name is Adonis Johnson, not Creed. However, in the trailer his boxing trunks say Creed which leads me to believe that Adonis has some sort of internal conflict going on. Maybe he harbors hatred for his father for dying before he got to know him so he didn’t take his name. Also, and this is scary, but many sources say that in the movie Rocky is fighting something worse than he ever faced in the ring. I hear that and I’m thinking Rocky is sick and might even possibly die. I hate to even say it but I’m not counting that out at all. Truth be told, I have a million questions. Is Adonis a fighter before he meets Rocky and just seeks Rocky out to be his trainer before a big fight? Will Rocky’s son make a cameo? Will we see any of Rocky’s former opponents? All we can do is wait until November 25, 2015 but based on this trailer Creed looks like a winner. Rocky is taking a backseat in this one and it appears they approached this somewhat like a stand-alone film. It’s a bold statement but I think we might have a classic on our hands with this one. Rocky fans rejoice.