Movie Review: Creed III

In 1980, Robert De Niro won the best Oscar for “Raging Bull”, released in 1980, he created a new genre of acting that included becoming a great athlete first – by training for months, to play Jake La Motta, the great middleweight boxer. De Niro’s performance in Raging Bull was so significant that there was no way he was not going to win the Oscar for best actor, even to the point of moving the best actor nomination for Timothy Hutton in “Ordinary People” to supporting actor, so he could win a deserved acting award for his outstanding performance for that great movie. De Niro then went on to gain 60 pounds so he could play La Motta in his later years, making De Niro’s great acting performance secondary to an amazing physical achievement unprecedented in movie history.

For all of the 9 Rocky and Creed movies, one has to admire the physical shape of all of the actors in the boxing scenes are in. This requires a great deal of hard work and training for months in order to become believable in their roles as professional boxers. For the 3rd installment of the Creed franchise, “Creed III” the shape Micheal B. Jordan and Jonathon Majors are in for this film is some of the best within both the Rocky and Creed series.

The boxing scenes are as always – not realistic because no human brain can take repeated shots like these and continue boxing. The other flaw with most of these movies is that the Boxing Association would never sanction a fight where one boxer is in a completely different weight class than the other fighter. In this case, Jonathan Majors, who plays Damian Anderson weighs at least 240 and Michael B. Jordan, who plays Adonis Creed is at most 205 pounds. In the real world of professional boxing, middle-weight or lightweight boxers do not fight heavy-weight boxers.

Aside from the flaws in this film, I thought the story was as good as the previous 2 Creed movies, although the extremely fast rise of Damian who gets out of prison and very quickly gets to fight for the heavyweight title is not believable under any circumstances. But this is a movie and very often to create a great conflict story, corners sometimes have to be cut.

Overall, I thought that the acting was good throughout this film, with Tessa Thompson, as Adonis Creed’s wife, and
Phylicia Rashad, as Creed’s mother. Florian Munteanu, returns as Drago from Creed II and he weighs close to 260 pounds, making the weight class issue even more obvious in the last movie.

There is no mention of the character of Rocky throughout this entire story, and due to politics with Sylvester Stallone and Irwin Winkler, it seems that Stallone has been pushed out of the Creed franchise. One reason is that producer Irwin Winkler owns the rights to both franchises. I would rather have seen some explanation about what happened to Rocky, given that he was battling Cancer in the last movie and Stallone gave such a great performance in the previous 2 Creed movies.

I agree with the high Rotten Tomatoes ratings for Creed III of 86% and highly recommend this film.

Movie Review: A Journal For Jordan

For the far too few of us who include empathy as one of their most valued traits – this review is for you.

I have often wondered how any actor, director and especially a screenwriter must feel when they toil for weeks, months or even years on a project – then complete it – then wait for the day when the movie is released so desperate with hope that the movie they spent years of their lives working on gets reviewed positively. Then their hard work gets trashed by a few critics who have no clue what they are writing about. How must that feel? How hard is something like that to recover from?

For the new movie “A Journal For Jordan”, directed by none other than Denzel Washington and starring Michael B. Jordan and relative newcomer Chanté Adams, the Rotten Tomatoes ratings are a downright stupid 40%. This rating ranks as one of the worst out of proportion opinions I have ever even heard about.

Obviously, this is one of those films that going on you already know will be a tear-jerker from the start. This is a true a story about a young couple’s early relationship told mostly with flashbacks. Dana, played by Adams and is a writer for the NY Times, Charles, played by Jordan, is a soldier who winds up going to Iraq soon after the 2001 Terrorist attacks. We all see tragedy coming a mile down the road, but this does not take away from this very well produced and acted real life story. This story is based on a Novel by Dana Canedy A Journal for Jordan (Movie Tie-In): A Story of Love and Honor that some years ago was a best seller and important enough to catch the eye of Denzel Washington to produce and create this movie.

I thought this story was very well told with a very emotional ending that worked extremely well. What the hell the critics are thinking this time around, I have no idea. 94% for a bad recent Spiderman movie with an idiotic premise and this real life story about true love, life and death gets 40%. None of this makes any sense. Making movies is in fact a brutal field to choose as a career. This movie definitely proves that.

My rating is a solid 80% and I highly recommend this movie.

Amazon Prime Movie Review: Without Remorse

Based on the several trailers I have seen for the new Amazon Prime movie “Without Remorse”, I was expecting a much better film. The problem with this story (based on the Tom Clancy novel “Without Remorse”) is that we have seen all of this before. Michael B. Jordan plays John Kelly a Navy Seal, who after completing an operation involving the Russians that went wrong, his wife is killed. This is similar to a much better movie, “A Man Apart”, starring Vin Diesel released in 2003, where the main character goes on a rampage to avenge his wife’s murder.

The remainder of this movie is a story line very similar to so many other movies involving the CIA and covert military operations, where a series of high level executives in the US Government are suspected as being double agents. All of this leads to a standoff in a run down Russian building with massive gunfire and killings. The one scene that stands out in this movie is the scene where Michael B. Jordan sets a car on fire with gasoline, then opens the door of the car covered in flames, goes into the car and gets in the backseat with the person inside in an attempt to gain information. For this extremely dangerous scene, Jordan did his own stunt, risking his life or being a life long burn victim. Once again I thought about “its only a movie”. Why some actors – mostly Tom Cruise, insist on taking risks like this for a movie, is hard to understand. No matter how careful the planning, or how many times a stunt is tested, all it takes is one instant of time and someone dies, or is permanently disabled. As more and more actors take risks like this, its only a matter of time before a huge tragedy will hit the movie industry.

I dont think this below average movie will hurt the movie career of Jordan who has already announced he will be directing and starring in Creed 3.

I agree with the low ratings on Rotten Tomatoes for this film and I do not recommend it.