Creed II Movie Review
“Creed II” picks up after the movie called “Creed”, which picks up after the movie “Rocky Balboa”, which picks up after… well you probably get the picture. This is another in the long line of “Rocky” movies and sequels. But this is a strong brand, when first created by Sylvester Stallone several decades ago. Now the mantle, or rather the Championship Belt, has been picked up by Michael B. Jordan. Jordan carries it aloft with a lot of respect and with dignity, and that helps to make this movie special.
Adonis “Donnie” Creed (Michael B. Jordan) is the massively talented boxer who is the son of Apollo Creed. Creed the Older was the first major opponent of young and rising boxer named Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone), but that was decades ago. Rocky had many major fights (read that, “Rocky” had multiple sequels). Then at one point – there was a huge bout between Apollo Creed and Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren). Drago was a Soviet boxer, and his cruel tactics in the ring ended the life of Apollo Creed. But then Rocky fought Drago and beat him at his own game.
Now quite a few years later, “Donnie” Creed has become a new major fighter, and he has Rocky as a ring-side trainer and mentor. Creed has a new girlfriend named Bianca (Tessa Thompson) who has become quite a singer-songwriter star on her own. After the events of the “Creed” movie, Donnie and Bianca have made a new life, and Creed is best in the world.. They are married and have new child, and Creed is the world Champion. Nothing can go wrong…
Except that Ivan Drago has been training his giant bear of a son named Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu). Ivan gets word to Creed that there needs to be a rematch. He wants a new match up of Drago versus Creed, but this time it will be the son against the son. And perhaps nobody will be killed this time out. But with this fight, Rocky refuses to help, because he knows that Viktor will have nothing to lose. Creed might possibly lose the title, but the fight goes on, and Creed does not lose the title. But he also does not win the fight. Drago beat up on Creed so badly that Donnie needs a lot of rehab. But Vicktor is not an experienced fighter, and with a couple of cheap shots, he was disqualified.
So before you can say “will there be family drama”, and “Rocky is out as trainer and is now back in”, and before you can see training montages that are in the desert and in swimming pools, Adonis “Donnie” Creed will train and strain and grunt and groan until he is in perfect shape. Now he is ready to take on Viktor Drago again, so that both the trainers can be Rocky versus Ivan. Just like before. But much older…
If you understand that some things need to be predictable, like the rising and setting of the sun, then you know that there will be a final major fight. And in that fight, there will be a number of slow-motion shots of punches to the face (of either boxer). Also at some key moment, there will be stirring first notes of the “Rocky” theme music. And that will lead into the blaring notes of the song playing as the underdog fighter gets up off the ring floor and delivers some major knockout blows.
Just because some parts are predictable does not mean they are not enjoyable to watch. It is especially fun when it is done with such good actors. Such as Michael B. Jordan, who is jacked up and beefed up to play Creed. He does a very believable job in the training and fight scenes. Tessa Thompson is very gracious performer in this movie. She acts like Beyonce-like star, and she pulls it off. Heck, even Sylvester Stallone mumbles less than he normally does in this movie…
To mix some sports metaphors: “Creed II” does not land in the gutter, and it does not score a grand slam. But it does reach the finish line without a fatal spinout. Great actors keep the aging “Rocky” series from fumbling in the end zone.
Creed II Review
Creed II Summary
Directed by: Steven Caple, Jr.
Screenplay by: Sylvester Stallone, Juel Taylor
Story by: Sascha Penn, Cheo Hodari Coker
Based on: 'Rocky' Characters (by Sylvester Stallone)
Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Dolph Lundgren, Florian Munteanu
Length: 129 minutes
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sports action violence, language, and a scene of sensuality
Genre: Sports Drama