Creed 2 Review
by E. McDonnell
**** 4 Stars
It is when the characters are away from the ring, the film really hits its high points.
Director: Steven Cable Jr (produced by Steve Coogler)
Actors: Michael B Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Dolph Lundgren
Plot: In 1985, Russian boxer Ivan Drago killed former U.S. champion Apollo Creed in a tragic match that stunned the world. Against the wishes of trainer Rocky Balboa, Apollo’s son Adonis Johnson accepts a challenge from Drago’s son — another dangerous fighter. Under guidance from Rocky, Adonis trains for the showdown of his life — a date with destiny that soon becomes his obsession. Now, Johnson and Balboa must confront their shared legacy as the past comes back to haunt each man.
Creed 2 is at its heart a boxing movie from the Rocky universe but the film itself is so much more than that. It is a touching and, at times, emotional story about love, revenge, family, legacy, life and death and the past coming back to haunt you. The chemistry between Adonis (Michael B Jordan) and Rocky (Stallone), as well as Bianca (Thompson) and his foster mum (Phylicia Rashad), creates a realistic and loving family dynamic that propels a story ordinarily about sport forward into something more. It is when the characters are away from the ring, the film really hits its high points.
The dynamics between Drago (Lundgren) and his son (Munteanu) are very interesting and this creates interesting characters with depth. In fact, there are strong acting performances from the whole cast, not surprising really, when there were 2 Oscar nominations for Stallone and Jordan. The fight scenes themselves are incredible and so well-choreographed; Staple Jr’s attention to detail is even more evident in the iconic and motivational training montages which show how, for the characters, this is more than just a boxing match.
The soundtrack is spectacular and is a mix of hip/hop and classic Rocky movie scores creating a new unique blend that gives the movie an original feel. This story stems so much from Rocky and the complex story and motives for each character is what makes this an epic and captivating watch. Even if you predicted the end, you could not have predicted the journey and I think this movie does the franchise (with its memorable characters) a great justice.
If the movie lacks anything it is that even with the legacies of Rocky and Drago, they do not seem to have a deep enough hatred for each other and their feud is more about a battle of egos. The actual reason for the fight is complicated and the story is slow in parts, however, those emotionally free story arcs are necessary for the film’s action to have any impact.
Overall, this movie is intense and inspiring and is the perfect continuation of this beloved franchise with new twists that make the movie feel fresh. The movie is not without its faults but it sure is an entertaining, motivational and moving watch. I feel so motivated, I might just go and do some boxing right now……
Creed II is currently available on Netflix and was rated 12 (A) by the BBFC.