Actor Michael B. Jordan returns to not only star in but make his directorial debut in a blockbuster that continued the saga of the son of Rocky Balboa’s greatest challenger and friend.
Creed III (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment, rated PG-13, 2.39:1 aspect ratio, 116 minutes, $39.98), now available in the 4K disc format, finds the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world Adonis “Donnie” Creed (Mr. Jordan) retiring from the ring to spend time with his wife Bianca (Tessa Thompson), deaf daughter Amara (Mila Davis-Kent) and ailing stepmother Mary Anne (Phylicia Rashad).
His quiet world, that also included mentoring and promoting boxers, gets interrupted when a best friend from his youth, Golden Gloves champ Damian “Diamond Dame” Anderson (Jonathan Majors), reconnects with him after serving an 18-year prison term.
Damian wants to return to the ring quickly and asks to get a title shot against Adonis’ champion Felix Chavez, but it’s refused by his old friend.
However, when Felix’s next opponent, the infamous Victor Drago (Florian Munteanu) gets attacked and is unable to fight, Adonis gives Damian that chance after being goaded by him to remember why he was sent to prison and how the underdog Rocky got a chance.
The result becomes a mistake that will force Adonis back into the ring to challenge Damian and ghosts from the former champ’s youth.
Although sometimes a bit predictable and lacking an appearance by Sylvester Stallone, Mr. Jordan’s movie, and the ninth of the franchise, manages to balance a family and friendship drama with intense boxing action to pay justice to the Rocky legacy.
4K in action: The UHD port shines often during the intense boxing choreography with sweat and blood from the fighters nearly spiting off the screen.
Viewers will especially want to concentrate on the slow-motion punches to faces where flesh and muscle quiver in a crisp unison.
As compelling are many of the nonfight scene, such as Felix Chavez entering an arena in a haze of smoky day and accompanied by minions wearing Day of the Dead make-up and garb, or an epic shot of Creed standing in the mountains above the Hollywood sign.
However, the boxers throughout are absolute mean machines, and the 2160p presentation is also a clinic to examining the upper torso of a human body’s circulatory and muscular systems.
Best extras: The bonus content is slim with a pair of featurettes that cover 10 minutes on the brilliance of Mr. Jordan as a first-time director and nine minutes on the relationship between Damian and Donnie, with both actors offering analysis.
Also included are roughly four minutes of deleted scenes that offered nothing to further the plot and were smartly excised.
Missing is an optional commentary track that should have been mandatory to spotlight the rookie director.