Isaiah Simeon ‘22 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
There is just something about a great fight movie. The formula is simple, yet eternally enduring – an underdog, a champ, and a once-in-lifetime opportunity to claim greatness and secure a legacy. Featuring hyper motivating training montages and mano e mano, no-holds-barred bouts, these films never get old.
With Creed II on the horizon, here are five “big fight” movies to watch in preparation for the newest entry in the Creed/Rocky saga.
Rocky IV (1985)
Starting with a classic, this one is essential to fully understand the context and weight behind Creed II. Following the death of Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) at the hands of Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), the ruthless amalgamation of the Soviet Union, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) travels into the heart of the Red State to avenge his fallen friend in a no-holds-barred expedition match.
It’s cheesy, over-the-top fun for all who despise communism, featuring the best training montage in all the Rocky films, which sees Balboa in the snow-capped peaks of Siberia, sporting a full beard, bulking up with his own DIY workout equipment. What’s not to love?
By far the most underappreciated fight movie, Warrior is a gut-wrenching film about a broken family, with mixed martial arts as the backdrop. If you only have time to watch one movie this week, choose this movie. It’s excellent.
Not much should be said about the plot of Warrior, because, the less known prior to watching, the better. Rest assured, this film is outstanding – you will cry. Joel Edgerton and Tom Hardy are amazing, and Nick Nolte got an Oscar nomination for his role as their father.
8 Mile (2002)
Not all battles are fought with fists. The brilliance of 8 Mile lies in the fact that it makes a rap-battle feel like a fist fight, with each bar a punch.
The story, which is loosely based on Eminem’s upbringing, is captivating, following struggling Detroit rapper, B-Rabbit (Eminem). The finale of 8 Mile depicts B-Rabbit taking part in a rap-battle tournament in which he runs the gauntlet of lyrical opponents, until finally getting the chance to take on his ultimate rival, Papa Doc (played by a young, pre-Falcon, Anthony Mackie).
This film’s most lasting legacy comes from its Oscar-winning original song, “Lose Yourself,” which definitely holds a high spot on your workout playlist to this day. Pay tribute by giving it a watch.
Real Steel (2011)
“This is the underworld, kids. There are no rules,” –Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman), Real Steel
Real Steel is a fairly by-the-numbers boxing film, except with fifteen-foot tall Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em robot ripoffs in the place of the humans, so that’s pretty neat. There is a nice little father-son relationship arc in there that works better than it has any right to, but if that is not your style, don’t fret, the sappy emotional moments are heavily outnumbered by scenes of robots punching each other.
It’s a little dumb, but there is nothing wrong with that. Have a little fun once in a while, you nerd, geez.
Finally, finish up your fighting marathon with the predecessor to Creed II. Creed revitalized the dormant Rocky franchise, and let Sylvester Stallone be a good actor again. The film follows Adonis (Michael B. Jordan), the son of Apollo Creed, trying to make his way into the boxing world while struggling to escape his late father’s shadow.
Now you’re ready for Creed II, where Adonis faces off against the son of the man who killed his father 30 years ago.
Creed II hits theatres on Nov. 21.
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