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Monday, November 30, 2015

Back to the Future: Ryan Coogler's "Creed" and "Fruitvale Station"

Creed begins in a cold institutional hallway rattled by the strident echoes of unfortunate tenants who’ve slipped through this monochrome and mechanistic birth canal , stripped of purpose and packaged for predetermined cycles of reprocessing through similarly dead-hum environs. That’s quite a stretch from the inspirational Bill Conti-scored vigor and working class solidarity with cultural sanctioned ring violence under Christ opening this picture’s progenitor, the Rocky franchise, where Philadelphia’s Italian Stallion Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) became an American avatar for accomplishment and determination, the simple underdog standing up to insurmountable odds again, and again, and again…But then again, the kid we meet in Creed‘s opening minutes set in Los Angeles in 1998 is a forgotten child estranged from his wealthy progenitors, fighting every day and locked up in solitary detention. This is a Hall of Infamy, the dark side of the urban black experience juxtaposed against the Red White & Blue Hall of Fame trunks of Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), a ring sacrifice for a Soviet monster (Dolph Lundgren) in 1985’s hilariously jingoistic so-bad-it’s-well-at-least-pretty-funny blockbuster Rocky IV, where the martyred black man is the functional catalyst for the white hero’s revenge and triumph.

Read the rest at L'etoile Magazine:

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