Movie review: ‘Creed 2’

Originally published December 5, 2018.

Courtesy Hollywood Reporter

In the world of Hollywood today, sequels are a dime a dozen. With a fair amount of film offerings today being sequels, it is hard to get excited for anything new. The only way anyone will be excited for a sequel is if it is good. So, what does that mean for “Creed II?”


“Creed II” is directed by Steven Caple Jr, taking over from the previous director, Ryan Coogler, and stars Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson, Sylvester Stallone, Wood Harris, Dolph Lundgren and Florian Munteanu.


“Creed II” is immediately put in a strange spot from the get-go, as it is a sequel to 2015’s “Creed,” and a long belated sequel to 1985’s “Rocky IV.” In this film, Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan), is challenged to a boxing match by Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), who’s father, Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), had killed Creed’s father in the ring almost 30 years ago. And of course, Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) returns to assist in training the young Creed.


Overall, when looking at the acting, it is a solid affair. All actors provide great performances, loaded to the brim with emotion. Even Stallone manages to provide a quite solid performance as the aging ex-boxing champ. Though the stand-outs, as ever, are Michael B. Jordan, who has demonstrated an exceptional range, as an actor. And Tessa Thompson, who does a great job carrying some of the more emotional scenes in the film.


Another solid aspect of the film are the obligatory boxing matches. The way they are shot are much better than some action films made today, avoiding many editing tricks like quick, fast paced cuts and shaky cam as a crutch to hide the flaws of the choreography.


Instead, the audience is treated to a variety of camera angles and perspectives, which help in showing a clear picture of the fights, highlighting the brutality of the boxing matches. While some fights do come off as overly choreographed, they are still just as good, all the same.


Now, this film isn’t perfect, not at all. In fact, there is an exceptionally glaring flaw. In “Creed II” there is only one training montage in the film. This would be acceptable, had “Rocky IV” not set the standard by having several montages throughout the course of the film. This is a baffling choice by screenwriters Juel Taylor and Sylvester Stallone, and a true disgrace to the Rocky film legacy.


Joking aside, the film does suffer from a few flaws, though not enough to completely ruin the film. The biggest flaw comes in the form of how predictable the story is. Honestly, if the audience has seen all the “Rocky” films, the plot and story beats should seem very familiar.


Though this is not to say that the film doesn’t have any ideas of its own, it certainly does. But when looking at the story as a whole, it is your standard “Rocky” affair, with some modern flair and new talent.