Today is Sylvester Stallone’s 69th birthday. Happy Birthday, Sly! And another “Rocky” movie is coming out? Yeah–kinda, sorta. You see, if you haven’t been following along, Stallone has filmed and completed six films focused on his Rocky Balboa character since 1976 ( I was in a theater seat for that very first one…when I was 11 years old!), the last released when he had recently turned 60 in 2006. And yes–Stallone was certainly pushing it, by having the “Rock” climb into the ring with the heavyweight champion, when he had reached three score by the time of “Rocky Balboa”. But, as fans, we allowed it, because he had the good sense to make the fight an exhibition, and not a title match. But 69?
Before you scoff, laugh, and/or snicker–realize this. Someone else had just turned 69, when eventual Best Picture Oscar winner “Rocky” was first released in late 1976. And that actor would be, none other than the one who played Balboa’s grizzled, no-nonsense trainer Mickey Goldmill–Mr. Burgess Meredith. So, since Sylvester is having Rocky be the coach of a young, hungry fighter for this seventh incarnation of the Rocky franchise…at least we know he not’s completely crazy.
But will it be any good? Well, I’ll tell you this–for the very first time, Mr. Stallone doesn’t appear to have a hand in any of the writing or directing of a “Rocky” movie (which is not a knock, on any of the original six). He’s just on board to portray the character. Of course, this film will be called “Creed”, and will concentrate on the boxing career of Adonis Creed–the son of the deceased Apollo Creed, who was played by Carl Weathers in the first four films through 1985.
Also, the movie has been written and directed by young Ryan Coogler, who made such as splash with his terrific debut, “Fruitvale Station”, in 2013 (review can be found on this site). Plus, the star of “Creed” will be the fantastic Michael B. Jordan, who not only portrayed the tragic Oscar Grant in Coogler’s “Fruitvale Station”, but will be our new Johnny “Human Torch” Storm in the August release of the new “Fantastic Four” reboot. This is a talented and busy 28-year-old.
Now, does the timeline work exactly for Mr. Jordan to be playing the son of Apollo in the film. No, not really (it was originally announced, when production started, that he would be Creed’s grandson). But I’m willing to give the filmmakers the benefit of the doubt until the movie opens. “Creed” punches into the box office on November the 5th, upon which the Rocky becoming Mickey transition will be complete. We’ve come full circle.