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Creed II (2018) - Movie Review

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Yo!  Creed II, after a three year wait, has arrived and fans of Creed and the ongoing Rocky series will certainly be pleased with the final product.  Its physical brutality is matched with each and every emotion presented on the screen.  You will pump your fists and get teary eyed as, yes, even legends face their own mortality and their mistakes.

Take a breath, though, hero.  Rocky (Sylvester Stallone, who also co-writes this gem) doesn’t die.  Oh, it’s coming but there’s simply too much going on in this sequel (of sorts) to Rocky IV to pollute the waters with those savage tears.  Maybe that’s Creed IIIs territory, though, as this one sees the beloved icon coming face to face with his friend’s death thanks to the reemergence of Ivan “I will break you” Drago (Dolph Lungren) and his seed. 

"While it is not as perfect as Ryan Coogler’s film, it is a close second, having all the right feels thanks to the strong characters"


After crashing the evening rush at Adrian’s restaurant, It seems Drago, who lost everything – including his wife (Brigitte Nielsen), who shows up in this film – when Rocky beat him.  And now, thanks to the success of Creed – who earns the heavyweight championship early on in the film – he wants his son to take Apollo’s legacy, Adonis “Donnie” Creed (Michael B. Jordan) head on.

Go ahead and accept it; the match between a natural fighter and a charging bull is not going to go well. 

This is a movie where sons must clean up after their fathers.  It is also a movie where the women, this includes Phylicia Rashad as Mary Anne Creed and a returning Tessa Thompson as hearing-challenged singer Bianca Taylor, are forced to wear their pride and show their strength in response to continued tragedy.  Remember that fight is not going to go well . . .

. . . but it gets better.  I promise.  It's not Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers) bad.

Anyway, with a change in location for the montage sequence, Creed II packs a wallop when it comes to sports movies.  Does it do anything differently?  No, of course not.  But we love this characters and we love the legacy, so loving - or at least liking this one - is an easy thing to achieve.

Lots of moments are made perfect by director Steven Caple Jr. (The Land) swift direction; even the emotion lands its punches.  He has his actors nailing the heart throughout this film.  The only time a pair of characters really feel underserved is when it comes to Lungren and his son.  Maybe some more time with the two of them could have been spent wrapping up that arc because it feels a bit hollow when, damn, it should really bring the tears home.   

With boxing as window dressing, Creed II can best be approached as a movie about relationships.  The sheer number of them, if I were to list them all out would prove to be exhausting; just know that, while you want to root for the still reigning champs in this movie, there’s a lot of baggage to navigate through first.  This baggage, as we are dealing with the burdens of legacies here, even extends to Lungren, who as most EVERYONE remembers was last seen in Rocky IV killing Apollo Creed, and his son Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), now a raging behemoth in the boxing ring.

Creed II

Creed II is the eighth movie in the Rocky franchise.  I have this feeling that it won’t be the last one.  While it is not as perfect as Ryan Coogler’s film, it is a close second, having all the right feels thanks to the strong characters and the inclusion of Lungren and even  Milo Ventimiglia, reprising his role as Rocky's son Robert.  I have to confess that, in the final few minutes of the film, seeing Rocky on yet another set of stairs while talking to family, left me more than a little misty-eyed.  

Ding! Ding! Creed II is the clear winner this holiday weekend.

4 stars

Creed II

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sports action violence, language, and a scene of sensuality.
Runtime:
130 mins
Director
: Steven Caple Jr.
Writer:
Sylvester Stallone; Juel Taylor
Cast:
Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson
Genre
: Drama | Action | Sport
Tagline:

Memorable Movie Quote: "He's just a man... be more a man than him."
Theatrical Distributor:
Annapurna Pictures
Official Site: creedthemovie.com/
Release Date:
November 21, 2018
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.
Synopsis: Under the tutelage of Rocky Balboa, light heavyweight contender Adonis Creed faces off against Viktor Drago, son of Ivan Drago.

Creed II

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Creed II

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