Michael B. Jordan steps into the ring and takes over as the new face of the "Rocky" franchise in the first trailer for "Creed," the next-generation boxing drama focusing on the son of Rocky Balboa's greatest rival.
Set for release the day before Thanksgiving, "Creed" stars Jordan as Adonis Creed, son of the late heavyweight champ Apollo Creed (originally played by Carl Weathers), who died in the ring in "Rocky IV" and thus never met his progeny.
With boxing in his blood and a chip on his shoulder, Adonis has grown up to be a promising young fighter in his own right, one with a fraught understanding of his old man's legacy. When a local trainer (Wood Harris) reminds him of his father's fate, Adonis replies, "I don't know him. Ain't got nothing to do with me." He adds, "I've been fighting my whole life. It's not a choice for me."
Adonis' training eventually takes him to the doorstep (or rather, the restaurant) of Rocky "The Italian Stallion" Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), who was a great opponent to Apollo in the ring and a great friend outside of it. What better mentor could a young fighter hope for?
Like his on-screen counterpart, Jordan also has a key collaborator in his corner: namely, director and co-writer Ryan Coogler, with whom he made the critically acclaimed fact-based drama "Fruitvale Station" in 2013.
It's too early to crown "Creed" a champ based on 2-1/2 minutes of footage, but the tightly constructed trailer does suggest that Coogler and Jordan are putting their own stamp on the "Rocky" series rather than just rehashing its greatest hits (most of which came in the earlier films). That said, fans of the franchise will no doubt get a kick out of callbacks like Adonis donning his father's trademark stars-and-stripes trunks in one scene and Rocky's utilitarian gray sweatsuit in another.
From the looks of things, "Creed" has more than a puncher's chance at success.
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