Creed (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

Creed 4K Blu-ray ReviewFirst off, I wanted to let everyone know that Warner Bros. did not supply this 4K UHD Blu-ray for me to review, but instead I purchased it myself out of my love and affinity for the Rocky franchise, and most recently Creed in this case (as I simply could not resist that gorgeous, awe-inspiring black slip cover).  I’ll admit though that I’m a few months late to this 4K Blu-ray party, but what matters most is that I’m here now, and I’m staying.  Thus far the 4K UHD Blu-ray format has been a rewarding experience, but I’ll admit to having a few system hiccups (don’t make the mistake of buying Lionsgate’s Sicario 4K Blu-ray) since my review of the new equipment I possess here.  You have to expect that from early adoption of technology, right?  Nevertheless, you can’t dispute how eye-popping spectacular things are on the Sony XBR-65X930D 4K display, but I digress.  We’re gathered here today to not only talk about my love for Creed and what the Rocky franchise may or may not mean to me, but more importantly how incredibly beautiful Creed is in 4K UHD Blu-ray.  Let’s begin!

I’m not sure where I was or what I was doing when I first heard news of a Rocky spin-off, but you better believe my reaction was a series of enthusiastic fist pumps into the air.  And for anyone that still has a flip phone, locked up in a house against their will in Cleveland, OH or just sadly aren’t in the know about what the whole “cloud” thing is really all about, Creed is the seventh film in the Rocky series, so to speak, and is the story of Apollo Creed’s son.  You remember him, right?  Apollo Creed as in Rocky’s arch nemesis in the first two films turned compadre in the next two subsequent ones.  Pretty cool, huh?  So nonetheless, I was beyond excited for the film…drum roll please…CREED (not a band documentary, the fictional boxing film).  And for anyone who doesn’t know what the Rocky franchise means to me, let me refresh your memory down below.



It was back on February 15, 2014 when I had the honor of publishing the Blu-ray review of a collection of films that are some of my all-time favorites, some for sentimental reasons and others for motivational.  Of course I’m talking about the 6 Rocky films in the double dipping Rocky Heavyweight Collection.  The historic review I’m referring to can be found here in its entirety or should I say longevity.  I won’t repeat any of it here, but in that review I talk about my undying love and affinity for the Rocky movies and more importantly what they all mean to me personally.  They are the soundtrack to me life as once again I’ll be faced with an uphill challenge this year when I undergo two hip surgeries, but like the great Rocky Balboa I must find a way to endure and ultimately in the end persevere.  That’s what winners do!

Unlike the other Rocky films, this one’s unique.  No, it’s not because Rocky ain’t fighting, he is, just in a different way, but it’s because it was written by Ryan Coogler (first Rocky film where Stallone’s not a writer), and directed by him too (think of Fruitvale Station).  It also sees Coogler reunited with Fruitvale Station star Michael B. Jordan who portrays Adonis Johnson Creed, Apollo’s son.  How he’s Apollo’s son, I’ll let you figure that one out.  No spoilers here!  So obviously Stallone’s back reprising his legendary role (with an Oscar nom to boot) for this spinoff with roots in Rocky films 1 through 4.  Notable characters missing are that of Little Marie, Paulie and Rocky’s son, with the latter two explained in this film as to why they are a no show. Tsk-tsk on the son though for not being there for his father in times of need.  You’ll find out why I say that.  However, before we move on I do want to mention some new faces in this one, Tessa Thompson (Adonis’ love interest), Tony Bellew, Graham McTavish and Wood Harris.

So the basic plot goes a little something like this.  The son of Apollo Creed, Adonis Johnson Creed, feels lost in this world.  He knows who he is, but no one else does nor will they take him seriously.  Despite the plush office job he has as well as all the money in the world that Apollo left behind for his late wife at his disposal he’s a fighter with something to prove.  What that is, well that’s our journey in this film.  So when he runs out of resources and inspiration in Hollywood, Adonis travels to Philadelphia, where he seeks out Rocky Balboa and requests that the now elder, but still legendary boxer train him.  Of course, Rocky wants nothing to do with it, but can’t help be smitten in the presence of Apollo’s offspring.  After all, they are almost like reunited family, but I digress.  Throughout the film of ups and down we learn two things for certain, both Rocky and Adonis need each other, no matter what they think and everyone has a battle to fight in life.  What that battle is of course depends upon the situation in one’s life, but don’t let anyone fool you.  Everyone’s sh1t does stink and the grass isn’t always greener on the other side (I can testify to both of these facts in life).

While I have a couple things I guess anyone could nitpick about in Creed, I won’t.  I’m biased.  The Rocky and Star Wars films are my soundtrack in life and you won’t hear me talk anything bad about them no matter how awful the prequels are or how fantastical (thanks Scott Mendleson) Rocky IV is, they are all special and important to me, each in their own unique way.  So it goes without saying, I won’t be bashing Creed in this 4K UHD Blu-ray review.  In fact, I’ll be praising it.  Like Rocky Balboa and the films that have come before in the franchise, Creed has raw, emotional heart and that’s all I care about.  It may be a boxing film, but it’s so much more than that.  It’s about real struggles in life and while I can’t pretend like I can identify with Adonis giving up his rich, plush Hollywood life style (something us poor people dream about daily), I can definitely sympathize with the plight of Rocky’s life and the new battle he faces because I feel like I have lived my life like him, one big series of ups and downs and no matter how many people tell me no and knock me down I keep getting back up in their faces.  You can’t keep a good man down, especially a stubborn son of a b1tch like Rocky and I.

You’re probably asking yourself what can possibly be done in this film that hasn’t been accomplished in the previous six outings.  I mean, Rocky already trained a boxer in the fifth film and look how that turned out.  I understand your fears about Creed.  I really do.  I struggled with whether or not I could take this film seriously since it was essentially a spin-off of Rocky IV, one that I really have a hard time with in that “fantastical” boxing matching in mother Russia, but I digress.  What really concerned me though was how on Earth were the filmmakers ever going to make a worthy successor to the film that really knocked me out years ago, Rocky Balboa.  I never expected anything as strong as that one coming.  That flick actually rivals the first Rocky film in all honesty, but again I digress.  Rest assured, Creed stands on its own merits as a film, but its roots run deep within the franchise here and like it or not, the filmmakers reinvent new ways to keep this tried and true tale both fresh and innovative while at the same time paying homage to all the Rocky lore and all that has come before.  I like to think they succeeded remarkably.

The innovative ways in which this one was shot, not to mention the creative tasks/camera tricks employed to keep the story and action in your face kept me engaged throughout in this one.  Yes, the music is mostly all different, but if you listen closely I bet you can hear several familiar cues that will make your blood curdle in nostalgia (not to mention the many familiar visuals too).  Coogler and folks don’t ever let you down in that department.  The story may not be all about Rocky anymore (and the training montage may not be elevated to the same degree as they are in the other entries and there’s a reason for that too), but the filmmakers never let you forget that you’re in the Rocky universe and I love them for that.  Make no mistake also, I believe Creed can be back.  What’s to stop them from making a Creed 2 or a Creed 3 even?  Absolutely nothing!  I guess rhetorically speaking it would be contract disputes, etc.  However, this one sets up the franchise perfectly for more entries.

I say this all up above because I want to believe.  Whether its solely Adonis or Rocky is involved too, I want these men in my life for as long as possible.  Their characters, flaws and all (that’s another thing I loved about Coogler and the rich characters he developed here), mean the world to me.  They are role models for me to be all I can be in life.  And when you say something as profound as what I just said, you realize something, I just watched a Rocky film.  It was called Creed.  Both men fought for something bigger than themselves, but even more importantly, it’s the life lessons you take away from this powerful franchise (we are our own worst enemies).  It’s all about going the distance folks and never giving up.  I’ll leave it like that as I drop the microphone to the floor here.  I ring the boxing bell twice.  Ding, ding.  Let’s get ready to rumble indeed!



  • Encoding: HEVC / H.265
  • Resolution: 4K (2160p)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • Clarity/Detail: This one is a mixed bag of nuts with the visually ways in which it was differently shot, but all in all those nuts are delicious because this one looks spectacular, clear and concise. Sourced from a 2K digital intermediate, Creed offers no substantial reason to upgrade from the regular Blu-ray to this 4K edition, but f you’re a huge fan like me, don’t you want the absolute best presentation of Creed as possible?  Of course you do!  Make no mistake here, things are sharper in this 4K presentation, but just how noticeable is very subtle so I’ll repeat what I muttered in my original Blu-ray review because I’m not going to ding it for not being much better than original perfect release earlier this year.  From the wrinkles in Rocky’s aging face to the older, worn walls and decor that adorn the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia, detail is well endowed throughout here.  This presentation can be heavily stylized at times, but I’m not going to nitpick it for that.  Blood, sweat and tears, you see it all in brilliant 4K!
  • Depth: I know it’s gimmicky, but one of my favorite shots that brilliantly showcases the depth of field here is when Adonis is running through the streets of Philadelphia with the bikers in tow.  It just looks like a million bucks.  There’s also the boxing arena too, but we’ll talk about that down below.
  • Black Levels: Black levels, no pun intended, are deep and in check throughout.  This area, ladies and gentlemen, is probably where this 4K Blu-ray presentation shines the most in contrast to the original Blu-ray release.  The first noticeable difference was when Adonis first visits Rocky in Adrian’s.  The deeper blacks contrasted nicely to complement and pronounce the scene while also in the boxing ring within Act 3, the deep blacks literally chisel and etch the many faces in the crowd, something that’s indistinguishable in the regular Blu-ray.
  • Color Reproduction: Again, no pun intended, but the colors are rich and bold when they want to be and warm and natural like when they need to be.  I know that doesn’t make sense, so let me break it down for you.  Take the last fight for example.  It is bold and bright just like a heavyweight fight would look like on HBO.  Now on the other hand, take the training scenes.  They are raw and the presentation is mute and sterile, but it goes hand in hand with the stylized things going on here and the 4K viewing retains all of this excellently.
  • Flesh Tones: The skin tones are spot on perfect and that’s all I will say as I have made too many racial infractions already up above.  Haha.  Just kidding.  You know I am right?
  • Noise/Artifacts: Because this was shot digitally (boo), I don’t think you’ll find anything to discern yourself with here.



  • Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English Dolby Digital 2.0, Spanish DTS Surround 5.1, French DTS Surround 5.1
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
  • Dynamics: Although they retained the same surround track as on the original Blu-ray release, it will still knock you out just like the killer punches thrown throughout here.  The soundtrack also has a wide dynamic range going on here that swallows you whole in the immersion of it all.  From the signature Rocky themes to onscreen brawls, this one is Jimmy Walker…meaning dynamite!  The dynamics here just literally make you feel like you’re living in this film and that’s all you could ever ask for, a perfect reproduction.
  • Low Frequency Extension: The LFE is used sparingly, but when it’s employed you vigorously know it’s purpose.  It’s to pummel you.  However, this is a drama first and foremost, so you can’t expect much here.  It’s not a summer blockbuster.  You get it though.
  • Surround Sound Presentation: The surround sound presentation is where this one excels from the coaching instructions Rocky gives Adonis in the ring to the training montages that make me want to lift unimaginable weights this one swells and sinks you right in the middle of it all.  You’re in the ring fighting for your life with this one.  Ding, ding, let’s get ready to rumble!  The crowd cheers from behind, people on the street of Philly come to life and ambient effects and sounds puts you in the mood.
  • Dialogue Reproduction: As you would expect from a five-star rating this one sounds spectacular in the dialogue department.  Stallone was robbed at this year’s Oscars.  His crystal clear words of advice brought tears to my eyes even though I’ve seen this film before this fateful 4K UHD Blu-ray watch.



I gotta say, I’m a bit disappointed in the very light special features package here.  There’s only three things to be found in this Creed 4K UHD Blu-ray Combo Pack package besides the Digital HD UltraViolet redeemable copy and the Blu-ray disc with the feature film in 1080p.  I say I am disappointed because I remember fondly how much I adore Stallone’s commentary track on Sony’s Rocky Balboa Blu-ray disc way back in the format’s infancy.  Oh well, sh1t in one hand, and wish in another, right?  You’re probably wondering if that was a question.  Nope!  It was just a rhetorical statement.  It drives my girlfriend crazy when I end sentences with questions.  Haha.  So without further ado, here’s what you’ll find on the enclosed Creed Blu-ray in ways of extras.

  • Know The Past, Own The Future (HD, 14:49) – This one is kind of what the title leads you to believe, the passing of the proverbial torch from Rocky to Adonis.  Sylvester Stallone kicks things off here talking about how Rocky’s story is done (although far from it in this film) and it’s now about a new generation with Adonis Creed.  This one also features some clips from the previous Rocky films and some words of inspiration from others as to how the Rocky movies inspired them in life.
  • Becoming Adonis (HD, 5:46) – This one is all about how Michael B. Jordan became Adonis through determination, hard work, blood, sweat and tears.  Stallone impressively says Michael spent over a year training for this role.  I like that kind of dedication, don’t you?
  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 19:36) – Here we have a quite lengthy collection of polished deleted scenes.  Your results may vary.  There are a total of eleven scenes to be found here.  The sucky thing is they are not able to be individually selected.  It’s like watching a linear VHS tape, but only much, much crisper.



Creed, which has been featured on more than 40 critics’ “Top 10” film lists for 2015, including mine right here, and is now available on 4K UHD Blu-ray Combo Pack, and includes the film in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc, obviously in 4K on UHD Blu-ray and a digital version of the movie in Digital HD with UltraViolet.  And for those of you who think this is just another boxing film, let’s recap things real quick.  For his portrayal of Rocky Balboa in Creed, Stallone was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role. Additionally, he was awarded the Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture at the 2016 Golden Globes, as well as Best Supporting Actor at the 2016 Critics’ Choice Awards.  This is more than just a movie ladies and gentlemen, this is a life-changing event!  Own it!


DISCLAIMER: This 4K UHD Blu-ray review was judged and graded using the following 4K certified A/V gear found here.  I purchased my 4K UHD of Creed at Best Buy, the only retailer I can find this one at the time, but Amazon has it as well now.


*Creed 4K Blu-ray Cover


Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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