Our take on... Creed II
Set a few years removed from the original “Creed”, which saw Adonis Johnson embrace his past and start to bill himself as Adonis Creed (Michael B Jordan) in honour of his late father Apollo, “Creed II” catches up with Adonis as his career in the ring has gone from strength to strength and he has found himself at the top of the boxing world. However, a new challenger with ties to his past makes an appearance and threatens to derail Adonis’ life and career.
That challenger is Viktor Drago, son of Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren) who is the man who killed Adonis’ father in the ring as seen in the events of “Rocky III”. In that film, Rocky (Sylvester Stallone) went on to defeat Drago and this film tells us in the intervening years, Drago was made an outcast because of his embarrassing loss and has put all his time and effort into moulding his son Viktor into a fighting machine in order to restore pride to the family name.
Where the first film saw Adonis struggle to become what was expected of him, this film casts him in a much different light, almost to the point where he starts to believe his own hype too much, to the point where he packs bag and baggage to LA with his partner Bianca (Tessa Thompson), and leaves Rocky behind. This overconfidence results in him accepting the challenge laid down by the Drago men, and the idea that he is fighting to avenge his father in some way, means the fight doesn’t go exactly as planned. With his confidence shaken, Creed attempts to go back to basics.
“Creed II” is another worthy entry to the “Rocky” series at large, and makes some nice callbacks to the original films. We see footage from “Rocky III”, and there are some fun cameos from one or two characters from the series. The film also explores some themes that are relevant now in terms of examining toxic masculinity; Ivan Drago lives vicariously through his son regardless of the consequences to Viktor’s wellbeing. On the other side, Adonis is fighting for a father that he never really knew out of a sense of duty more than anything else. On the surface, the fight scenes are excellently shot and choreographed, and feel consistent with the fights from previous “Rocky” films. The performances are all great, and Stallone once again proves that behind all the action movie nonsense he’s done over the years, he can really up his acting game when it comes to this character. “Creed II” is a great example of how to do sports drama well, and manages to avoid a lot of the clichés along the way.
These are the learned and entertaining words our Kevin Dillon, @kevinwritestuff.