Creed II is now in theaters, and if you were expecting it to wildly veer from the tried-and-true Rocky movie formula, you’ll be disappointed, but only because you expected a Rocky movie to play out in a unique manner. The “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it mantra” continues with Creed II, which is the eighth Rocky film, and quite frankly, I was content with that approach. After all, this franchise doesn’t hit eight films if people aren’t paying to watch them, so even if this movie liberally borrows from its predecessors, it’s still a great flick, and one that will more than likely warrant another sequel. I can only hope at least.
You can check out my full review below in video or written form (video script).
Hey now boxing fans, Matt Heywood here to review Creed II, or what I like to call, the 8th time Rocky has been remade, but is still somehow really good.
In all seriousness though, Creed II, like every other sequel in the Rocky universe, and really every boxing movie ever made, uses the exact same narrative formula that has made these movies wildly successful. It doesn’t try to change the plot arc of a boxing movie in the least, so once again you can expect the lead character, in this case Adonis Creed, to face a series of trials and tribulations before he has an awakening moment, at which point a training montage kicks in, and then the climactic fight takes place.
This time around, Adonis Creed, fresh off his impressive showing in Creed, contends for the Heavyweight title. But his true challenge comes in the form of Viktor Drago, the son of Ivan Drago, the Russian boxer who killed Apollo Creed in Rocky IV. As you could probably guess, just like his father in Rocky IV, Adonis gets sucked into a ploy by the Dragos, and agrees to fight the monstrously sized Viktor, who honestly looks like the manliest man on the planet. For the sake of spoilers I’ll just say these two have more than one fight for a reason, and those reasons are very similar to Rocky’s reasons for challenging Ivan Drago in Rocky IV.
I won’t spoil the final showdown between Viktor Drago and Adonis Creed, but if you’ve seen even one Rocky sequel, it’s not hard to figure out what probably happens.
Quite frankly, that’s what makes Creed II and the other Rocky sequels special. For one reason or another, even with the same plot, these films manage to be very entertaining, which is why they probably keep getting made.
I went into Creed II essentially knowing exactly how it’d play out, yet I was supremely satisfied by it. I wouldn’t say it has the same intense inspirational and motivational tones as Rocky IV, which this film is clearly inspired by, but it still manages to entertain with its solid characters and its tried-and-true Rocky movie style plot.
Michael B. Jordan once again stands out with his performance of Adonis Creed. The dude looks jacked and completely believable as a prize fighter. I’ve never been as big of a fan of Donny as Rocky himself, but that’s a character thing and not an actor thing, because Jordan excels at this role and has made it his own.
Sly on the other hand continues to kill it as the simple minded, but big hearted Rocky Balboa. He still plays the character perfectly, and now that he’s not the fighter, Sly has done a great job at transitioning the character into a mentor/father role.
Tessa Thompson also adds an emotional component to Creed II, thanks to the hearing issue she is dealing with, and how it is affecting her and Creed as a family.
I also have to mention Florian Munteanu, who plays Viktor Drago, mostly for his physique, which is as manly as it gets, but he also plays his character perfectly. I actually really enjoyed this villain if you will, as well as the fact that it allowed Dolph Lundgren to make his way back to the Rocky-verse, which was awesome to see, and he too did a good job at brining an old movie character back to life.
Creed II won’t surprise you, but that’s ok. For some reason, the Rocky movie formula is one that can be reused over and over with slight alterations to its theme and characters, and still not get old and tired. Creed II’s cast helps immensely, but when it comes down to it, I think we just like to watch underdogs take on the seemingly impossible. When you sprinkle in a bit of violence, it’s a hard formula not to enjoy.
This Rocky sequel earns an 8 out of 10 review score from Team EB. You will not be disappointed even though you already know how it’s going to play out.
Thanks for watching, Matt Heywood signing off for EntertainmentBuddha.com, where we make you a better geek, one post at a time.
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