DRAMA; 2hr 13min
STARRING: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson
Ring master: Stallone (left) and Jordan
A boxing gene can cross generations. The great Apollo Creed died before his son Adonis (a dynamised Jordan) was born. Still, it's the compulsion to fight professionally that takes Adonis, a brawler for his entire, fractured history, from a Los Angeles finance career to Philadelphia and the neighbourhood restaurant of venerable lion Rocky Balboa (Stallone). Rocky has zero interest in training anyone but Adonis is persistent and, in any case, surely it has to be kismet. Apollo's boy and the one-time Champ. Who could resist?
Not me! After 39 years, Stallone and Rocky know each inside out: the actor pads through his paces with the gruff nonchalance of hard-won experience and you'd trust him with your life, both in the ring "one step at a time, one punch at a time, one round at a time," and out. Director and co-writer Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station) has made an exciting, sure-footed boxing movie, fully pumped with Rocky-style heart and fire. But what shapes and makes it are the fights that the crowds don't see — the older man's with the shadow of mortality and the younger's for a destiny all his own.