The last Rocky to hit the screen was 1990’s Rocky V. 25 years later, it sounds like it's time to reintroduce this franchise to a new audience. They tried to create a parity of it in the 2013 film, Grudge Match, but let's face it—nothing can come close to recreating Rocky. The decision was made: “Let's take on a new face with a new background.” Since Rocky is way too old to be in the ring and so was his son, the current train of thought was to find another likable character from the original series and give him an offspring. So on the sixth day, the writers created Apollo Creed's son, Adonis Johnson.
We start off the movie with Adonis fighting in juvenile detention hall being rescued by Apollo's wife who takes him under her custody to grow up as a civilized person. I know what you're saying, “When did Apollo Creed ever have a son”? Turns out, Apollo was not such a great husband and actually had an affair with another woman, who gave birth to Adonis. And as you know, Apollo died in the ring and never met his son. So Apollo's wife is now rescuing not her/their, but his son. Got it? Yeah, that's what I thought, too.
Well guess what? Adonis grows up to be an investment banker (who we all know are the biggest crooks in the world) but Adonis is bored with corporate life. Instead, he wants to be a boxer, just like dear old dad. Really? Are you expecting us to believe that here's a guy in his twenties making a lot of money, who just got a promotion, and he wants to throw it all away so he can be a boxer, live the life of a pauper just to be a boxer? Give me a break.
If you can get past this dumb idea for a movie, then you'll probably also be disappointed as well with the fight scenes and the drama that leads up to it. Guess who Adonis seeks out to help him train to be a boxer? Why it's Rocky Balboa of course, the old aging fighter who runs an Italian restaurant in Philadelphia.
Sylvester Stallone deserves an Academy award for best supporting actor for this film. For once, he is believable as an old, broken down man who has very little left to look forward to in life. His performance is stellar and heartwarming. You finally get to see Rocky broken after all those years and Stallone brings it to the screen beautifully.
While I was a big Rocky fan, I didn't find this movie anywhere near the caliper of the first three movies in the series. While not under the story and direction of Stallone, I felt this movie dragged out in numerous places. The fight scenes were not as good or exciting, and the movie never really hit a high point. There were no riveting performances. Michael B. Jordan (Adonis) is not a lead actor, the “villains” weren’t particularly menacing, and the movie just felt lifeless. There was no dynamic music score or intensity that the first movies had, but because I'm a Rocky fan, I'll probably see the next one, too.