Director: Michael B. Jordan
Year Released: 2023
Retired heavyweight champion Adonis (Jordan), who spends time with his singer wife Bianca (Tessa Thompson) and their deaf daughter Amara (Mila Davis-Kent) when not running his business, feels responsible for formerly-incarcerated boxer friend Dame (Jonathan Majors) and tries to get his life turned around by putting him back in the ring, but Dame isn't exactly trustworthy. There was some controversy here with the producers keeping Sylvester Stallone out of the project and eliminating many of the "legacy characters" (including Rocky Balboa) - Sly blamed Irwin Winkler, calling him "nefarious" - and it always feels like something is "missing" ... and it doesn't help that the plot is extremely contrived and requires "sacrificing" a key cast member (Adonis' mother, played by Phylicia Rashad) to try to produce an emotional response. Still, the stylistic choices by Jordan in his directorial debut aren't too egregious, and Majors is menacing ... which, according to statements from directors he'd worked with in the past, he might also be off-screen. Is that a new kind of method acting they teach at the Yale School of Drama?