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CREED II gets 7/10 Re-match


Directed by
Steven Caple Jr.
Starring Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Dolph Lundgren, Florian Munteanu

7/10

The past repeats itself in Creed II, as Creed goes up against Drago, just like in Rocky IV. However, it’s the sons who are competing this time, and given things didn’t go too well for Apollo Creed during his match, much expectation and tension is put upon his son, Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan).

It feels there is much more at stake for the central match in this Creed sequel than there was in the predecessor. There’s so much pressure and worry that even Creed’s coach, Rocky (Sylvester Stallone), steps down, concerned that Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu) may kill Adonis in the ring, just like their fathers. Putting extra sting on this match is that Ivan Drago himself (Dolph Lundgren) is coaching his son and is confident he will take the world championship from Adonis.

Even more pressure centres around Creed as his relationship with Bianca (Tessa Thompson) develops into a family, though they worry about their daughter inheriting the hearing disorder her mother has. There’s certainly plenty on the mind of this current world champion, and this amount of conflict translates fairly well to the film, that fills itself and its main character with a wealth of obstacles to overcome or simply accept, all the while showing his physical and psychological reaction to them.

Creed II fits snugly amongst the others in the Rocky series, though is likely to sit a bit higher than the Rocky sequels from the 80s. It’s mostly well made and effective when it needs to be, evoking sentimentality not through tired tropes, but properly written dialogue that is emotionally felt.

It’s in some of the details that Creed II genuinely surprises and separates itself from other similar sports movies. Though, as a whole, the film isn’t offering too much new for the series, and Adonis’ arc throughout, though filled with challenges and taunts from the past, does feel redundantly familiar. It’s actually the final fight scene that disappoints, not feeling too much like a realistic fight scene, as one contender dominates over the other, then the other dominates back, without much mixture of the two.

The acting from Jordan and Stallone is great, though it does feel like this story and script here could’ve utilised their talents more. This sequel may not quite reach its potential, but it’s working over the predictable and the unpredictable in a graceful and earnest way.

DAVID MORGAN-BROWN

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