Michael B. Jordan stars and directs for the first time with Creed III, sans Sylvester Stallone. The results are mixed with some impressive visuals and some of the best boxing scenes ever filmed here. But the story and its pacing might fall flat due to some rookie filmmaker mistakes. But overall, this is a solid entry in the Rocky franchise even if it's the least desired one of the last three. The 4K with Dolby Vision video presentation looks great and the Dolby Atmos track sounds wonderful. The extras are lacking, but are worth watching for fans of Jordan and the film. Recommended!
A thrilling story is at the center of the third installment of the Creed franchise which has Michael B. Jordan stepping into the boxing ring again in addition to his directorial debut chair. With a new opponent that brings a new backstory to the Adonis character and some of the best boxing sequences ever filmed, Creed III is a solid sequel despite some rookie mistakes from a first-time director.
Director Ryan Coogler and Sylvester Stallone struck gold both critically and financially with the reboot of the Rocky franchise several years ago with Creed that followed Apollo Creed's illegitimate son Adonis (Michael B. Jordan) leaving the life of finance to box. It played out genuinely sweet and evoked every emotional punch that the original Rocky film delivered. Creed II had both Rocky and Adonis back in the mix with former Russian opponent Ivan Drago and his son challenging Adonis Creed in hopes of Drago and his family not being shunned anymore by the Soviets. These characters continued to grow and still had those root emotions that the original film captured.
With Creed III and Michael B. Jordan behind the camera, there were a few beginner issues, but overall, this was a breath of fresh air with some great tonal shifts in the storyline that make Creed III a good watch. The movie begins with a win for Adonis but then cuts several years into the future where Adonis has turned into his father in the way that he now wears a suit and is running his businesses rather than wearing the trunks and boxing gloves. His wife Tessa (Bianca Taylor) has enjoyed a very successful music career and their young daughter has total hearing loss, but that doesn't stop her from wanting to follow in her father's footsteps. One of the issues here is that the logistics and time don't always add up in their own narrative. Creed III suffers from the same elements where one scene to the next might fast forward months or longer without any smooth transition. Again, these are rookie mistakes, especially from someone who is playing both filmmaker and leading star duties at the same time.
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Creed III knocks it out into a 4K + Blu-ray + Digital Code set. The discs are housed inside a hard, black plastic case with a cardboard sleeve. There is an insert for a digital code inside. The artwork features Michael B. Jordan in vivid color walking to the ring while everything else is in a dark blue state.
Creed III steps it up to a 2160p UHD 4K transfer with Dolby Vision and HDR10. With Jordan behind the camera for the first time, he wanted to make an impact visually by showcasing elements a little different in the boxing world and in this overall story. The result is that this stylized movie doesn't have a lot of natural tones or colors to it, but rather a ton of examples of a blue-green or even an amber tint to most sequences.
Those flashback scenes usually come with a darker, blueish-green tint with some amber highlights. The Dolby Vision allows for those stylized colors to shine in the background and off lights with the black levels coming through in the distance. Interior shots and most of the boxing matches have that golden glow with a lot of reds and oranges, almost as if Jordan wanted to balance warm and cooler colors to reveal the different time periods and stages in the characters' lives. The Dolby Vision always makes these colors bolder, but never to any natural degree. The green training jumpsuit looks a little colder in the ring and the other exterior elements are mostly darker than usual. This is all a stylistic choice for sure and the Dolby Vision and 4K can handle it well - it just might not look as beautiful as it could in its natural state. The black levels are always inky without any crush and the skin tones can be a little warm at times.
The detail is vivid and sharp with closeups that reveal facial pores, individual stubble and hairs, gory makeup applications from beatings, beads of sweat and blood, and more. Textures in clothing always make their mark whether it be the leather sheen of the boxing gloves or the fine threads in the suits. Wider shots give way to props and set designs nicely no matter how dark the image can be. This is a great-looking film in most of its action sequences and this 4K really shines in that section. There are no major issues with banding, aliasing, or heavy noise.
This release rolls with an amazing Dolby Atmos audio mix that just lightens up the speaker system whenever it gets a chance. Those sound effects during the epic boxing matches are stellar. The fluid motion of each sound, punch, and skin-on-skin contact is bold and powerful. Those mind-bending sound effects travel smoothly from one speaker to the next without any hesitation that is all well-balanced with ferocity and grace. The roar of the crowd in the background with their cheers and boos is always immersive and has the right amount of volume at any given moment.
In those large arenas or even in the training rooms, there is a natural reverb and echo that sounds perfect through the Dolby Atmos track. The music and score add a ton of heart and soul to the mix with a wonderful amount of bass in the low end. It has a fantastic rumble that never crosses into rocky territory. The dialogue is clean, clear, and easy to follow. The height speakers bring forth crowd chants, weather elements, and other musical notes from above. This could be a demo-worthy soundtrack to the right ears. There are no issues to speak of here with the audio presentation.
There are only 25 minutes of bonus materials included here, all being located on the Blu-ray copy of this set. It's unfortunate that there is;t more from Jordan and others here about how his directorial debut went, but maybe that's for another release down the road.
Creed III is a fantastic sequel with some flaws, mainly due to a first-time director. The visuals are quite amazing and the theme and tone of the film are top-notch and go into some uncharted territory for this film franchise which is very welcome. While the previous two movies are better than this outing, Creed III does a lot of things right. The 4K image with Dolby Vision enhancement looks amazing and the Dolby Atmos audio track sounds incredible. The extras are brief but candid. Recommended!