Today: February 27, 2024
C2_01907_R2 (l-r.) Jacob 'Stitch' Duran as Stitch-Cutman, Sylvester Stallone as Rocky Balboa, Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed and Wood Harris as Tony 'Little Duke' Burton in CREED II, a Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures film. Credit: Barry Wetcher / Metro Goldwyn Mayer Pictures / Warner Bros. Pictures © 2018 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures Inc. and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Creed II

Creed II is the 8th film in the Rocky franchise. That’s pretty impressive for a franchise that essentially follows the same structure in almost every one of its installments. Underdog boxer puts everything on the line to take on a bigger and better adversary before ultimately winning. So, by now, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Creed II has anything original to offer. And yet, somehow, it does.

Recently crowned heavyweight champion of the world Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) is faced with a ghost from his and trainer Rocky’s (Sylvester Stallone) past in the form of Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), son of Apollo Creed’s in-the-ring killer Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren). With the death of his father looming large, Rocky’s refusal to see another Creed die in the ring and family responsibilities on his radar Adonis has to ask himself if fighting a man hell-bent on revenge is really worth it? SPOILER: it is.

The first Creed film was a wonderful and inventive way to update and pass the Rocky torch onto a new generation of fans. Sure, it followed all the Rocky troupes of montages, arguments, family struggles and ultimate success but this is cinematic boxing. It’s blood, sweat and always has you fist-pumping the air as you wipe away a manly tear from your eye.

This time offers little originality in so far as predicting what will happen but it does layer on an emotional investment from both hero and villain’s side. Adonis might be having daddy issues but he’s also trying to be a daddy. Meanwhile his opponent Viktor lives in the shame of his father’s defeat to Rocky 30 years ago. That’s quite a lot of shame to live up to, especially when even his mummy (a returning Brigitte Nielsen) has disowned them both.

Yes, Creed II is a little over the top but thanks to Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson – as Adonis’ partner in life – and the brilliant Sly Stallone it works in achieving everything you want from a film of this ilk. What’s more, it has you feeling sorry for the antagonist of the piece, and that’s never been attempted in a Rocky film – even Apollo was painted as an egomaniac in the original Rocky movies.

Not a full-blown knockout but a film that packs a satisfying punch, Creed II does exactly what you want and expect.

Alex Moss Editor

Alex Moss’ obsession with film began the moment he witnessed the Alien burst forth from John Hurt’s stomach. It was perhaps ill-advised to witness this aged 6 but much like the beast within Hurt, he became infected by a parasite called ‘Movies’. Rarely away from his computer or a big screen, as he muses on Cinematic Deities, Alex is “more machine now than man. His mind is twisted and evil”. Email: alex.moss@filmjuice.com

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