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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Apr 10, 2023



THE FIRST ‘CREED’ movie was shown in 2015. It’s a spin off of the “Rocky” franchise that catapulted Sylvester Stallone in 1976 to stardom. 

He is still in “Creed” playing a supporting role to Michael B. Jordan, who plays the title role of Adonis “Donnie” Creed, the son of Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), Rocky’s rival.

In “Creed”, Adonis or Donnie decides to follow in his dad’s footsteps and becomes a boxer. 

The movie is a big hit so “Creed II” followed in 2015. Now, we have “Creed III”, directed by Michael B. Jordan himself, who does a pretty good job in his directorial debut. 

In “Creed III”, Donnie is now retired as a boxing champ. He now has his own gym and boxing academy where he trains his protege, Felix Chavez (Jose Benavidez), the current heavyweight champion. 

He’s happily married to his singer wife, Bianca (Tessa Thompson), who’s now more of a record producer. 

They have a deaf-mute daughter, Amara (Mila Davis Kent) and they’re convincing his adoptive mother (Phylicia Rashad) to live with them in their plush, beautiful mansion, but she prefers to live on her own. 

In a flashback, we see Donnie as a teenager with his best friend, Damian Anderson or Dame, a Golden Gloves champion boxer who dreams of becoming a world champion. 

While they’re in a store, Donnie sees another guy named Leon and punches him repeatedly. Dame helps him and is arrested by the cops while Donnie manages to run away and escape. 

Back to the present, Dame has been released from jail after 20 years and visits Donnie, asking for help to resume his boxing career and get the chance to fight Chavez. He believes he deserves a shot on the ring, but Donnie rejects the idea.  

Things change when Drago (Florian Munteanu), the scheduled opponent of Chavez, is attacked and gets injured. Dame then becomes Drago’s replacement in the coming world title match against Chavez that can no longer be postponed. 

Everyone is betting on Chavez but Dame surprises them all and when he beats Chavez on the ring and wins the championship title. 

Dame quickly gets swellheaded, enjoying his newfound celebrity status and bad-mouthing Donnie for allegedly forsaking him before. 

This is because Donnie never contacted him or answered his letters while he was in prison. 

It’s easy to conclude that the two friends from way back will soon be facing each other off on the ring. Donnie comes out of retirement to challenge Dame in their match that is called as the Battle of Los Angeles. 

And this is what becomes the movie’s climax, but in this kind of boxing movie, it’s easy to project who’d win in the end. 

What happens is really predictable as it has narrative and structural similarities with other past “Rocky” and “Creed” flicks, following the same path and trajectory from beginning to end.

What “Creed III” succeeds to do is for Creed to step out completely from Rocky’s iconic shadow. Stallone was present in the first two Creed movies, but now, there is not even a mention of him or any reference at all. 

The decision to get rid of him from the Creed framework makes a lot of good sense as the Creed franchise has to move forward on its own, since Rocky has become more of a distraction.    

“Creed III” is a competent directorial debut for Michael B. Jordan, who effectively combines action and drama. The boxing sequences are properly full of energy and intensity. 

He’s a good storyteller and in the final bout, to hasten the usual traditional match, he inventively condenses different rounds into a montage of various boxing scenes to hasten the proceedings on screen. 

Jordan is one of the best looking among younger black actors today, aside from Rege Jean Page who has yet to capitalize on the stardom he gained from “Bridgerton”. 

If he wants to achieve the success of more serious black lead actors like Sydney Poitier, Denzel Washington and Will Smith (all Oscar winners), then he should aim to do more prestige projects in the future, not just action flicks. 

“Creed III” is also engaging because of the effectivity of Jonathan Majors as the antagonist.  We remember him from such films as “Devotion” and “Da 5 Bloods”. 

In “Creed III”, he’s supposed to be older than Jordan, but in real life, Jordan is older at 36. He's only 33 and really makes quite an impact as the scheming Dame who has revenge on his mind.