Brute force awakens as writer/director Ryan Coogler successfully reboots the Rocky franchise with the effective sports drama Creed (B+). Michael B. Jordan shines as the title character Adonis “Donny” Creed, working out issues of identity and legacy to fulfill the destiny of his late father Apollo. Salvaged from a declining series of film sequels and even a botched Broadway musical, Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa gets his comeuppance as Donny’s trainer, and the veteran actor is exceedingly charming in the role. Together Donny and Rocky become an unexpected family, and their chemistry together is the heart of the film. Although it’s hard to overcome the retread factor of what has become one of history’s most formulaic film series, Coogler infuses the enterprise with a sense of discovery, camaraderie and high stakes. The result is the sleeper hit of the season and proof that the Fruitvale Station director and his muse are a team to watch.