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Creed (2015)

It’s been nearly a decade since we last saw Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa on the big screen – but that long-running franchise is about to be rejuvenated in a big way. The new “spin-off” movie Creed will be hitting theaters toward the end of the year, and yesterday, we had our first look at some footage:

The official Facebook page for Creed launched this special preview yesterday, and as you can see, the big change for the Rocky franchise is that Rocky Balboa is no longer the lead character. Instead, that honor is transferred to Michael B. Jordan, who stars in the movie as Adonis Creed – the son of Apollo Creed (played by Carl Weathers in the first four Rocky movies). The young man has a passionate desire to follow in the footsteps of his pugilist father and step into the ring as a boxer, and Rocky serves as his trainer to try and help him get to the top.

Watching this trailer, what really stands out is Michael B. Jordan’s performance, as it looks like he has worked his ass off to prepare for his titular role in Creed. Not only does he look strong enough to punch a dent into a steel wall, but his moves – ducking and dodging and throwing punches – really look authentic, and he sells every moment that he’s in the ring. The guy has proven many times now that he is one of the most talented young actors working right now, and hopefully this will be a great showcase for him.

Ryan Coogler, who previously worked with Michael B. Jordan on the award-winning docudrama Fruitvale Station, directed and co-wrote Creed with Aaron Covington, and it looks like it has the potential to be one of the better boxing dramas we’ve seen recently. Arguably the last great one we saw was David O. Russell’s The Fighter – which won two Academy Awards – but that movie is nearly five years old now. Perhaps Creed will be the next movie that livens up the boxing genre.

In addition to Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone, Creed also stars Graham McTavish, Tessa Thompson and Phylicia Rashad. Warner Bros. has penciled it in to be released the weekend of Thanksgiving, which makes one wonder if it is just trying to avoid the box office monster that is Star Wars: The Force Awakens, or if there’s some Oscar potential in the project. We’ll have to wait and find out.

Creed throws straight right hooks in theaters on November 25th.

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