review by Bobby Blakey
There is no denying that one of the most iconic film series of all time is Rocky. The series has had its ups and downs, but not only launched Stallone’s career, but also helped to relaunch his resurgence. In 2015 they looked to go a new direction in the franchise with Creed once again featuring Stallone, but this time in a supporting role alongside Michael B. Jordan that ended getting him an Oscar nomination. Now they are heading back to the ring with the next chapter of Adonis Creed with Creed II co-starring Tessa Thompson, and Phylicia Rashad as well as Florian Munteanu as Viktor Drago and Dolph Lundgren reprising his iconic role as Ivan Drago, but will it be another knock out or will it be down for the count?
Creed II follows Adonis Creed whose life has become a balancing act between personal obligations and training for his next big fight, he is up against the challenge of his life. Facing an opponent with ties to his family's past only intensifies his impending battle in the ring. Rocky Balboa is there by his side through it all and, together, Rocky and Adonis will confront their shared legacy, question what's worth fighting for, and discover that nothing's more important than family. Anytime you look to rehash a story especially one that so many people love and having to follow-up such a great film it is a gamble. I was worried that this wasn’t going to work well and feel forced, but admit I could not wait to see Drago on screen once again. There are elements that I was bummed weren’t included, but as a whole I really like the direction they went for this next chapter.
The story of Creed and Drago is one that changed everything in the Rocky franchise both in and out of the ring. With using Adonis as the focal point of the Creed franchise it is near impossible to not bring the Drago aspect to the forefront at some point and here they did a good thing with it by keeping the formula we all love from these movies, but also expanding the story and
relationships across the board. We get a lot more story and time with Drago and the aftermath of the losing the fight as well as the relationship with his son making for an entire new element that elevates this character to more than just a fighting villain. Make no mistake he is still the angry raged filled fighter, but there is more here and Munteanu’s Viktor Drago is more of a beast than Ivan in many ways.
Jordan is in full lead here once again and brilliantly returns to the role bringing so much emotion and heart to every element in and out of the ring. You feel his fears, pain, and struggles to continue to deal with his father’s legacy while fighting to create his own. On the flip side is Stallone who can play Rocky in his sleep, but continues to bring everything to the role. His role here brings even more emotions as he also has to struggle with the past and the decisions that have haunted him all these years. Both of these guys continue to have great chemistry together and make for the perfect team that is a great joy to see together on screen. The rest of the cast are all great with Phylicia Rashad getting a lot more to do this time around as she has to be there to hold it all together while delaing with this past that changed everything in her life as well.
The training sequences both mimic those of the past while stepping up their game and being something fresh and new. The directions of the story and fight outcomes were great choices making them be something more than just the usual fight and fight again formula that became a part of the franchise. While I still love the first Creed more this is still a great follow-up that does a great job at carrying the iconic story forward, bringing some closure and setting up the future should they head back into the ring for more of Adonis Creed’s story.
In addition to the film this release features bonus content including deleted scenes and featurettes taking you behind the fights, drama and Legacy of Rocky. Step back into the ring and grab your copy of Creed II available now on Digital and then on 4K Ultra, Blu-ray and DVD on March 5th from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.