Writing Movie “WRONGS”
By Jim West
Directed by Steven Caple Jr
Written by Sylvester Stallone, Juel Taylor, Sascha Penn, and Cheo Hodari Coker
Sylvester Stallone has time and time again shown audiences why Rocky is the pinnacle of sports dramas and the bar that other films should meet or exceed. This film covers a lot of ground story wise and the four writers on this film did a phenomenal job of giving each and every character their moment to shine. The classic training montages are there, and the fall and rise of a hero of the story is paced perfectly. This will not be a ‘Writing Movie WRONGS’, but rather a showcase of ‘Writing a Movie RIGHT’.
Here comes the spoilers.
The film opens with a dreary morning for an old character from Rocky 4, Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), waking up his son Viktor (Florian Munteanu) to train. It is clearly established that Viktor is a powerful and raw fighter. We jump to see Adonis “Donnie” Creed (Michael B Jordan) fighting for the world heavyweight title and winning it. Finally matching his father’s achievement of being a champion. The film shows his various emotions very well, and kudos to the writer’s to trust the actor to convey the various ranges of emotions he does in this film. Giving time for emotional scenes to play across his face is breathtaking. Adonis makes you feel for him and feel what he feels. This is both testament to the actor’s performance as well as the writer’s writing in key scenes and moments for every character to shine and support the lead role. It isn’t long before Viktor and Ivan issue a challenge that Adonis is compelled to take and against Rocky’s advice he takes the fight. A fight he loses, but due to a disqualification retains his title. The film then shifts to showing Adonis put himself back together from the inside out. Brilliant execution in direction and writing to take the time to fully explore this side of fighters. Superb.
Of course it is no surprise that Adonis finds his will to fight and Rocky comes to train him. Yet these scenes are not what makes this film excellent. It is the small moments of Rocky wanting to pick up a phone in a hospital and call his son and he hesitates till he just hangs up not knowing what to say. He seems to know what to say when it comes to boxing, but in the struggle to make amends with his estranged son he is forever psyching himself out. What a great parallel to ‘getting inside your head’ as they speak this about fighters. Brilliant writing right there. Adonis trains and we get the epic training montage that Rocky films are known for and then we are at the big fight in Russia.
It is a brutal fight and what is truly a real surprise here is that there are no losers. Yes there is a clear winner in the fight, but overall everyone walks away a winner. Ivan lets go of his past to see his son, and Viktor gets to reconnect with his father beyond revenge. Adonis gets to become a true champion and start to honestly forge his own legacy outside the shadow of his father. Rocky finally reconnects with his son. It is hard to say if ever a subplot for a story would make audiences tear up as much as seeing Rocky reconnect with his son.
If Michael B Jordan is not at least nominated for an Oscar for this film, then there is simply no justice in the world. This is excellent writing on display and you would be mistaken if you think this is just another boxing film. This is a dramatic film that serves characters well through strong writing.
Thanks for reading ‘Writing Movie ‘WRONGS’.