Plot in a nutshell: Newly crowned world heavyweight champion Adonis Creed (Johnson) faces an irresistible challenge by undefeated Russian fighter (and man mountain) Victor Drago (Munteanu) who just so happens to be the son and boxing protege of one Ivan Drago (big Dolph) who killed Adonis’s father Apollo Creed 33 years previously (see Rocky IV for more).
However, Adonis’ trainer and mentor Rocky Balboa (Stallone) wants nothing to do with it, feeling that Adonis is doing the fight for all the wrong reasons and is likely to get seriously hurt in the process.
To say anymore would spoil it for you but safe to say that if you have seen any of the other Rocky films you can pretty much guess the rest.
What worked? Very much like 2015’s Creed, all the performances are absolutely superb – Stallone is of course brilliant as Rocky (in his 8th go around), Johnson is extremely good again as Adonis as is Tessa Thompson as his long term girlfriend Bianca. Munteanu also does very well in what could have been a standard villain role but instead manages to give Viktor a good deal of depth which was very refreshing. Finally Dolph Lundgren is absolutely superb and a total joy to behold returning to his most famous role as Ivan Drago – snotty critics take note -never let it be said that this guy cant act as he is bloody fantastic here. Lastly the boxing matches are very well staged – particularly the bruising climactic bout and naturally there’s a great training montage which will have you clapping and cheering.
What could have been better? As good as it is this sequel doesn’t quite scale the heights of its 2015 predecessor, the original Rocky or for that matter the sixth entry Rocky Balboa.
Newcomer Steven Caple jr does well in the directors chair but lacks the same raw flair and edge of Ryan Coogler (who takes an executive producer credit here) also for me the filmmakers could have had Stallone and Lundgren share more scenes together and this seemed like a wasted opportunity. Finally the film does drag a bit in the middle somewhat.
Best Scene: What else? The training montage, the big fight between Drago and Creed and naturally THAT music theme.
Review summary: Not as bonkers as Rocky IV nor as good as some of the other entries, but despite some shortcomings Creed 2 is a damn good sequel and another great entry in this wonderful and seemingly never ending franchise.
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