I was excited to see this movie since I am a fan of the Rocky/Creed series. This film in particular since it was Michel B. Jordan’s directorial debut. I have seen him perform extremely well in films such as “Black Panther” and “Just Mercy”, and it was interesting to see what he would do in his first time in the director’s chair. The basic setup is Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) who has retired from boxing, only to come across an childhood friend Damian Anderson (Jonathon Majors) who got out of prison and wants to get back at Creed for an incident in the past and become the world boxing champion. This leads to a face off between former friends in the ring.
As far as debuts go, I thought this movie was excellent for a first time director not only because Jordan is also starring in it, but he is also carrying the legacy of a film series spanning multiple decades. It is interesting how this was the first film in this series not to feature Syllvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa. While Stallone is still a producer, this is very much Jordan’s movie.
One of the biggest elements that stood out to me was the fight choreography. Jordan has stated multiple times in interviews on how he used animes such as “Dragon Ball Z”, “Naruto”, and “Hajime No Ippo” as influences during the boxing matches. This was a very unique take on this series as it allows the audience to feel the conflict between the characters during each fight with no dialogue. Are there certain moves that anime fans can see as easter eggs? Yes. But you can still enjoy these scenes even if you have not seen any of them. I actually am glad that people who love anime are getting to direct big budget films now.
While the film has a lot of great fights it is also very heartfelt. Particularly with Creed’s relationship with his family, which I thought was very touching. But the drama is most interesting when it is set between Creed and Damian. Much like any anime rivalry, they have a past that is morally complicated and has caused issues between the two of them. I thought Jonathon Majors was an excellent actor who made both a challenging opponent and a complex character. It could have been so easy to have made him another boxer to take down. But because they have a history together that people can quickly identify with, it made for an interesting conflict.
Overall, I thought this film is a fantastic addition to this series. The performances are strong, the fight direction is awesome, and the conflict was good. Michael B. Jordan is a talented director who I hope works on more films in the future.
John Wick 4
The next film on my list is “John Wick 4”. I have been a huge fan of Keanu Reeves since I watched “The Matrix” movies during my childhood. When I first saw the “John Wick” film series, I was astounded by how much they can accomplish with a simple premise. It basically centers on a retired legendary hitman, who seeks revenge after a group of men killed his dog. From there, this series becomes a one man war against legions of hitmen who want to take him down. The story is simple, but the level of acting, style, and of course action have made this series a personal favorite of mine.
“John Wick 4” is easily my favorite of this series. I was astounded how the people behind this managed to top themselves yet again. The film clocks in at almost three hours, making it the longest film in this series. This makes sense because this is larger in scale compared to the previous movies. The length never bothered me here because there was always something happening on screen, either from an action level or a character level. The best way I can describe it is a James Bond film with a lot of hyper violence. It is also made even more impressive with how Keanu is doing a majority of these fight scenes and stunts.
The side characters here are also awesome to watch. They include actors such as Ian Mcshane, Lance Reddick, Laurence Fishbourne, Donnie Yen, Bill Skarsgard, and Shamier Anderson. They are all memorable, have great chemistry with one another, and make you want to see more of them. Which I hope happens since they are making multiple spin-offs to this series. Director Chad Stahelski truly is a gifted filmmaker. The locations and the set pieces that were made for this movie were fantastic. The amount of action was evenly balanced with the locations they are in.
The action as usual is top tier. They do so many things with guns, knives, nunchucks, cars, and flaming shotgun rounds. They basically throw anything that you can hit with a person into these set pieces, and it is choreographed in such a way that makes it so satisfying to watch. The way these scenes are pced and shot on camera make me feel like I’m watching a live action video game, and I mean that in the best way.
In the end, I loved “John Wick 4” from beginning to end. It is still up in the air if there is going to be a sequel considering the film’s ending. But if they do stop here, then this is a strong high note to leave off on.