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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Boxing > Urban > Comedy > Sports > Racing > Race Cars > Moyorcycles > Creed (2015 Rocky spin-off/MGM/New Line/Warner Blu-ray w/DVD)/F1 Official Review Of The 2015 FIA Formula One World Championship + MotoGP 2015 World Championship Official Review (MVD/Duke Blu-rays)

Creed (2015 Rocky spin-off/MGM/New Line/Warner Blu-ray w/DVD)/F1 Official Review Of The 2015 FIA Formula One World Championship + MotoGP 2015 World Championship Official Review (MVD/Duke Blu-rays)

Picture: B & C/B-/B- Sound: B & C+/B/B- Extras: C/B-/C Main Programs: C+/B+/B

Here are a new set of sports titles worth looking into...

When I first heard about Ryan Coogler's Creed (2015), a spin-off of the long-running (on life support?) Rocky series, it seemed like a bad idea and a tired concept for a package deal that would be formulaic, condescending and predictably pointless. It is not a great film, but like Rocky Balboa from a few years ago, Stallone and his co-producers have made a somewhat invisible ideological move to abandon the Reagan-era style of Rocky III through V and bring the series back to its true Vietnam-era 1970s roots, even if it does not have the guts to admit that.

Coogler is a fan and convinced the producers and MGM to have this new story where Adonis (the underrated Michael B. Jordan) is a young man with a good white collar job, friends, a good surrogate mother (an oddly cast Phylicia Rashad) who saved him from a troubled life. He turns out to be the son of the late, great boxer Apollo Creed, once Rocky's original opponent. To the surprise of his few close friends, Adonis wants to go into boxing and has been doing this in Mexico with some success. He now wants to move forward professionally, but under his current name which is not his father's.

He knows he has to turn to someone who would know best, so he flies from Los Angeles to the equally great city of Philadelphia to visit a famous restaurant owner, one more famous for his fight back from being an underdog to championship boxer. Rocky is still in mourning for Adrian, the love of his life, but has support of those in the neighborhood who know him and makes do. Adonis visits him and eventually convinces Rocky of his identity. Adonis wants him to help, but Rocky is reluctant... at first. Then...

Well you know where this is going and thus, some of this gets predictable, but Jordan and Stallone are convincing, both unexpectedly getting support from each other, connecting inevitably over someone Rocky respected (and gave his life for his country) and a father Adonis never knew, but is about to find out and connect to that past to regain his own soul. In that, this film had the set-up to be much better than it turned out, but Jordan carries the film well, even when the script is not where it could be. Tessa Thompson also impresses in a star-making turn as a singer who becomes his girlfriend and the makers rightly make Philly a character of the film at times, if not enough for my tastes.

The sad part for me was watching the film was how in a few scenes, the original feel of the film comes alive in brief spurts, reminding series film buffs like myself how great United Artists was, even 35+ years after it merged with MGM. Both were still studios until recently when they shrunk to a (maybe the) production company in Hollywood, now being distributed by various majors. Here, they are handled by New Line, itself folded in Warner Bros. a few years ago. It reminds me how the original film could likely not get made today among many, even though it is not particularity political or controversial, a relatively simple story about people that this film tries to be at times. That I why it is worth one look at least, flaws and all.

Extras include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other cyber iTunes capable devices, while the discs add Deleted Scenes and two featurettes (Know The Past, Own The Future and Becoming Adonis) worth looking at after watching the film. For more on our coverage of the Rocky series, start at this link.


Next are the latest installments in the annual look at the best Formula One races in the world and best high powered motorcycle races in the world courtesy of Duke Video. F1 Official Review Of The 2015 FIA Formula One World Championship and MotoGP 2015 World Championship Official Review have arrived for the year and they are as rich, long, thorough and fired-up exciting as last year's set. The F1 set runs over 5 hours and is never boring with all the sites, sounds, locations, racing talent and even international stars who show up when you least expect them, but the races are the crux of it all and they never disappoint. Wrecks, passbys, dangerous close calls and amazing driving never lets up because that's what it takes to win. Like the previous set, it is very involving and fun, especially if you have a home theater system. Those used to even the most expensive state-of-the-art videogame systems will be taken aback by encountering the real thing.

I can say the same thing with confidence for the MotoGP Blu-ray, so much so that it actually gives you a new respect for these bikes and the racing of them. It takes very serious skill and you have less protection than in any car, though one could argue both are 'unsafe at any high speed' but that misses the point of the action and fun. They again trump any videogame variant and have the high energy that inspired the Tron franchise at its action best throughout. This runs 205 minutes and is also never boring, never fails to be engaging and is worth sitting through like some sports mini-series. Wonder if Duke can come up with any other motor racing to license and issue on Blu-ray!

Extras on F1 this time include an entire bonus Blu-ray with seven bonus clips and raw on board camera footage, while MotoGP adds three featurettes on Jorge Lorenzo (the winner this time) and End Of Season highlights. For more on last year's great set, go to this link...


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Creed is a decent digital HD shoot that has some nice shots at times, but is content to be workable and has a chance to get contrasted to similar film footage when older 35mm clips of early Rocky films are shown. We'll never see grain quite like that again, yet Director of Photography Maryse Alberti manages to bring back the look of the early and previous film while still making this a modern digital shoot (he could have gone 35mm, but does not here) in a way that does not make the new footage seem inferior or lesser... not an easy thing considering what can and often still goes wrong with HD shoots. Though not perfect or the best HD shoot, it achieves what it sets out to do and that's a good thing. The anamorphically enhanced DVD version is no match for the Blu-ray, but is passable at best, though maybe softer than it should have been for the format.

The 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on both Duke Blu-rays have some nice shots, but we get some minor aliasing and detail issues. I hope the makers see the HD camera switch to progressive scan next season, but the shots are fine and color is usually solid and consistent.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mix on Creed is well mixed and presented, but despite kicking in nicely in action/boxing sequences, tends to be quiet and refined more than expected to the film's advantage for story and character development. Thus, it sounds as good as any film in the series and plays just fine, but the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on the F1 Blu-ray can more than compete bringing home the racing action as well and sometimes better than expected. Both have good soundfields, though the mix on F1 is sadly again credited generically on the case as just '5.1' does its best to capture and present the location audio throughout its long main program. The MotoGP disc again settles for lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (generically listed as 'stereo') and just manages to match it more often than not.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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