Creed Blu-ray Review
Could Be A Contender
A rare and elusive remake/reboot/spin-off which not only stays faithful to its legacy but also forges its own compelling path, Creed could very well be the start of its own memorable franchise.The Rocky series has shown remarkable longevity over the years, even weathering its dodgy fifth ‘streetfighting’ entry to endure for some 40 years now, with its sixth film, Rocky Balboa, remaining a fitting final bout for an ageing Sylvester Stallone. Whilst the notion of spinning it off into a future franchise featuring the son of Rocky’s legendary rival, friend and trainer, Apollo Creed (who was fashioned on The Greatest himself, Muhammad Ali), may have been worrying to long-term Rocky fans, the end result is both surprisingly assured and resoundingly good. It marks a worthy addition to the franchise and its near-universal approval leaves the announcement of a sequel next year coming as both thoroughly unsurprising and wholeheartedly welcome. Writer/Director Ryan Coogler (who's doing the Black Panther movie) made a standout debut with his 2013 drama Fruitvale Station, and reunites here with Fruitvale star Michael B. Jordan (who made his own breakthrough with Chronicle, and was The Human Torch in the failed reboot of the Fantastic Four), whilst not forgetting Rocky himself, Stallone.The end result is both warmly familiar and strikingly different, forging a strong origin story for a new boxing protégé whilst continuing the equally compelling character development of Stallone’s Balboa, who not only takes the role of mentor Apollo’s rebellious child (borne from an affair) but has a fight of his very own – arguably the fight of his life (the debate will rage on as to whether he was robbed of an Oscar for undoubtedly one of his best performances in years). Coogler’s vision is fresh and raw, but also stylish and stylised, carrying with it the tropes of the original franchise – training montages and random air punches – but giving them a natural feel, and developing the characters, all not unfamiliar to either the franchise or the boxing world, in interesting ways. The fights themselves are adeptly captured, with near-continuous shots for the rounds giving them a distinctly visceral feel. Even the score manages to follow the trend - updating the feel for a new generation whilst paying tribute to the classic themes of the old. Rocky may have finally found a worthy successor.
Picture QualityMGM’s Region Free Blu-ray release of Creed looks outstanding, promoting the movie with a hard-to-fault 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation framed in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1 widescreen.
Creed is a knockout on Blu-ray.
Stylishly shot, and with some impressively captured fight sequences (shot in a way that makes them look like one seamless take), Creed is easy demo territory, providing outstanding detail and remarkable clarity, lapping up the ageing lines of Stallone’s visage counterpointed with the ripped definition of Jordan, whilst the various environments pop with fine textures and tiny nuances; from the showcased matches to the different boxing gyms; the downbeat flats to the palatial champion’s mansion. The palette is skewed marginally towards the dominant tones on offer, but pops with occasional vivid sparks of colour, often centred on the key matches. Black levels are strong and deep and allow for impressive shadow detail and overall this remains an excellent video presentation.
Sound QualityThe accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track is an equally impressive affair, drawing you into every arena and engaging with a rousing score.
Dialogue remains firmly prioritised across the fronts and centre channels, rising above the remaining elements where necessary, but also taking a step back in the face of the numerous training montages and climactic fights. Effects coverage is stellar, whether it’s on the busy streets (the motorcycle running sequence is noteworthy in this respect, with the bikes buzzing around your sofa) or in the ring, where the crowds bring your living room to life and every punch is landed with LFE impact. The strong score provides the perfect accompaniment to this all, further engaging the surrounds and efficiently blending the classic old Rocky themes with more modern beats and tunes.
Steelbook ExtrasCreed’s limited selection of extras is unlikely to fully satisfy fans, although the headlining Featurette – Know the Past, Own the Future – offers up 15 minutes of interview-based background from all the key players that discuss the evolution of the franchise into this new saga, and the accompanying 6 minute Becoming Adonis further dips into the training required to turn Jordan into a convincing boxer, whilst a whopping 20 minutes of Deleted Scenes provide further footage, none of which really warranted inclusion in the final cut, but all of which are likely worth a watch.
A limited selection of extras offer some light background, but the Steelbook may prove a winner.
Unfortunately the Steelbook release has yet to arrive, and so it's impossible to attest to its quality in-hand, but it does show promise with the concept art and rumours of embossing and spot gloss. Watch this space and there will be an update as soon as it actually arrives.
Blu-ray VerdictCreed marks a worthy successor to the Rocky franchise, and this Blu-ray release is a winner.
With excellent video and audio, even the light smattering of extras can't bring down this impressive package. Fans of both the film, and the original franchise should consider it not only a recommended rental but a recommended blind buy - your Rocky collection simply won't be complete without this worthy addition.
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