Blu-ray Review Creed

'Creed' Blu-ray Review: Lightweight story, heavyweight drama

March 7, 2016Ben MK

A quintessential underdog story both on and off the screen, Rocky is one of cinema's longest-running and most beloved institutions. Now, four decades removed from the movie that started it all, the series is staging a major comeback with Creed, a pseudo-sequel that shifts the focus away from central protagonist Rocky Balboa and places it squarely on his protégé, who also happens to be the offspring of Rocky's greatest opponent.

Picking up two years after 2006's Rocky Balboa, Creed introduces viewers to the illegitimate son of Apollo Creed, an aggressive juvenile delinquent named Adonis, who's adopted by Apollo's widow (Phylicia Rashad) after the death of his biological mother. Fast forward to 2015, and Adonis (Michael B. Jordan) has channeled his fighting spirit into a successful amateur boxing career; yet, he yearns to go pro. Unable to find a suitable coach in Los Angeles, Adonis journeys to Philadelphia in search of the one man who can help him fulfill his true potential: Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone).

Of course, it doesn't take long for word of Adonis' championship lineage to spread; and, as a result, he soon finds himself taken under Rocky's wing and undergoing rigorous training for his first big bout, a highly-anticipated match-up against British Heavyweight Champion "Pretty" Ricky Conlan (played by real-life boxer and former three-time ABA Heavyweight Champion Tony Bellew). Meanwhile, Rocky finds himself fighting an uphill battle of his own, as he goes head-to-head with a cancer diagnosis that threatens to put him out of commission for good.

Directed and co-written by Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station), what follows is a straightforward underdog story, one that not only parallels, but also echoes the previous Rocky films (right down to the obligatory training montages). That being said, what the movie lacks in narrative complexity it most definitely makes up for with dramatic intensity, thanks to a pair of knockout performances from Jordan and Stallone. Suffice to say, Coogler sums it up best when he likens the film to "a relationship drama with an action sequence at the end" — for, indeed, Creed is exactly that.

Boasting a stellar high-def presentation, Creed KOs the competition, delivering a one-two punch with its sharp, film-like picture quality and bold colors, bolstered by strong black levels and top-notch contrast. As for the disc's primary DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 sound mix, it proves to be quite the contender as well, filling the air with crisp and clear dialogue and rhythmic hip-hop beats, and immersing viewers in the fight night atmosphere created by the sounds of rowdy crowds and sports commentators, with ample LFE to convey the impact of every punch thrown.

Warner's two-disc Blu-ray release includes an UltraViolet digital copy, a DVD and the following Blu-ray extras:

  • Know the Past, Own the Future (14:49) - A look back at the Rocky franchise and co-writer/director Ryan Coogler's reinvigoration of the series, with perspectives from the filmmakers, the actors and various professional fighters.
  • Becoming Adonis (5:46) - A look at Michael B. Jordan's physical transformation for the role, as well as some brief insight into the film's fight choreography.
  • Deleted Scenes (19:36) - Eleven deleted scenes.

Creed is available from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment as of March 1st, 2016. The Blu-ray features English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, Spanish, French and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 5.1 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English SDH, Spanish, French and Portuguese subtitles. The total runtime is 2 Hrs. 13 Mins.

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