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Creed III (IMAX in some cinemas)


Stars: Michael B Jordan, Tessa Thompson, Jonathan Majors, Mila Davis-Kent, Phylicia Rashad, Wood Harris, Jose Benavidez

Director: Michael B Jordan

There surely can't be too many cinemagoers out there dying to see this threequel - the 10th in the series triggered by the Oscar-winning Rocky back in the seventies. It's a marginal improvement on Creed II but, despite some inbuilt excitements, the formula is looking distinctly tired and flabby.

Adonis Creed (Jordan, who also directs) has been retired from the heavyweight ring these three years gone, but of course there's another adversary with whom to do battle, of course it's personal and of course there's a final epic bout to settle the score, ending in favour of...well, what do you think?

Creed is living in luxury with wife (Thompson), mother (Rashad) and deaf, but boxing-mad daughter (adorable Davis-Kent, unable to hear in real life), when back into his world comes childhood buddy Damian Anderson (Majors), a Golden Gloves winner who has spent the past 15 years in jail after being caught in possession of a gun (seems a bit harsh) during an affray from which the three-years-younger Adonis had gotten away.

As Adonis' mother had confiscated the letters he sent to 'Dame' in prison, the latter is out for revenge, accepting Creed's offer of membership at his gym and some possible fights, as a route to relieving grievances that have festered and grown over the past 15 years.

Although the characters of Creed's mother and daughter give the film a little freshness, Jordan's direction is as uninspired as the heavily contrived plot itself. The final fight, too, is less dynamic than in any of Rocky's matches, with Stallone's whip-tight fight choreography much missed. Sly himself is on this one only as producer, his participation seemingly restricted by dissatisfaction with the path the film was taking. And he was probably right,

A shot in the arm, rather than a right to the chin, is sorely needed if the franchise is to continue and break fresh ground.

David Quinlan

USA 2023. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers . Colour (unspecified).
115 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 28 Feb 2023