starring Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad
screenplay by Ryan Coogler & Aaron Covington
directed by Ryan Coogler
by Walter Chaw I love this movie. I do. It's not perfect. The love interest is underbaked and the fight choreography of the final match is unfortunately disjointed. But I love this movie--unconditionally, I guess. The story goes that Ryan Coogler, the young director of Fruitvale Station, pitched Sylvester Stallone on the idea of rebooting Rocky with Apollo Creed's son. (Something the Indiana Jones series needs to do with a grown-up Short Round, by the way.) The auto-critical analysis of the film is that it's essentially a father/son intrigue, which lends some insight into the Rocky/Mickey relationship of the original Rockys, and there are enough references to same to gratify the cultists. What I liked most about Stallone's willingness to take a shot on a fresh idea from a minority perspective--this is the first instalment of one of his two venerable franchises to not spring from a Stallone-written script--is that it feeds into the idea of Stallone as an auteur maybe, a canny cultural anthropologist definitely. Every Rocky, every Rambo, is distinctly a product of its time. I don't feel qualified to talk about this, but to the extent that I understand the theory, I'm sold.