Three years after the hit film, Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone find themselves in their biggest challenge with the return of a former rival.
Adonis Creed, the son of the late great Apollo Creed, has become the new Heavyweight Champion thanks to the tutelage of his father’s former rival turned greatest friend, Rocky Balboa. In the wake of his title, Adonis decides to add more happiness by proposing to his girlfriend, aspiring musician Bianca Taylor, who happily accepts. However, a new challenger is making his way to the horizon and his name is Viktor Drago. The son of Rocky’s former nemesis Ivan Drago, Viktor makes it clear that he wants Adonis in the ring for the title. Learning of the history between Drago, his father, and Rocky, Adonis takes the fight, but Rocky, feeling guilt over Apollo’s death, refuses to go in his corner.
In the fight, Viktor clearly overpowers Apollo but while he is down, Viktor knocks Adonis out, disqualifying him. Clearly a broken man, Adonis decides to take a break. During that time, he becomes a father when Bianca gives birth to their daughter Amara, who is born deaf. Adonis may still be champion, but he soon will have to defend the title or risk losing it. When Viktor challenges Adonis to a rematch, Rocky arrives and gives Adonis the boost he will need. With the help of both Rocky and “Little Duke”, the son of Apollo’s former trainer, Adonis will have to re-train his body and prepare for the fight of his life.
The spinoff Creed was a great emotional boxing drama that not only revolved around the son of the late great Apollo Creed and his trainer, the legendary Rocky Balboa as both found themselves in the fight of their lives. The film proved to be such a major hit that it was inevitable that a sequel would happen and after long rumors, the return of a rivalry emerges. And what better rival to return than the iconic Russian boxer Ivan Drago, once again played by Dolph Lundgren?
Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone return in top form as Adonis Creed and Rocky Balboa. What is interesting is that a concept used in the film is the topic of family. Adonis is still reeling within himself for attempting to keep the legacy of his father while he is gearing up to be a father himself for the first time. As for Rocky, we learn he is somewhat estranged from his son Robert, who was last seen in Rocky Balboa with Milo Ventimiglia in the role. He learns he is a grandfather but for reasons unknown, he feels he can’t bear to face his son perhaps from his cancer battle as depicted in Creed.
With Lundgren returning as Ivan Drago, it is about being a broken man after the events of Rocky IV and he blames Rocky for losing it all. He sees the challenge from his son to challenge Creed as a means to gain his honor back from Russia. Boxer and MMA fighter Florian “Big Nasty” Munceanu brings on not just the physical performance as Viktor Drago, but in a tense emotional scene, Munceanu shows he is able to act as well when he confronts his father about what he is fighting for. And this is before the very exciting rematch between Creed and Drago, in which there was some excellent choreography by former martial arts action star Daniel Bernhardt and Don Thai Theerathada.
Creed II is a very tense and emotional sequel that almost rises to the level of the original spinoff. Seeing Ivan Drago in the aftermath of Rocky IV features an excellent story with even his own son questioning his reason for fighting while Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone continue in top form with their student-teacher relationship as Adonis Creed and Rocky Balboa as they both struggle and work together again to overcome their struggles.
WFG RATING: A-
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Films in association with Warner Bros. Pictures and new Line Cinema presents a Chartoff-Winkler Productions film. Director: Steven Caple, Jr. Producers: Charles Winkler, David Winkler, Irwin Winkler, William Chartoff, Kevin King-Templeton, and Sylvester Stallone. Writers: Juel Taylor and Sylvester Stallone; story by Sascha Penn and Cheo Hodari Coker; based on the characters created by Sylvester Stallone and Ryan Coogler. Cinematography: Kramer Morganthau. Editing: Dana E. Glauberman, Saira Haider, and Paul Harb.
Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Phylicia Rashad, Dolph Lundgren, Florian “Big Nasty” Munceanu, Andre Ward, Russell Hornsby, Wood Harris, Milo Ventimiglia, Brigitte Nielsen.