"It may not seem like it now, but... this is more than just a fight." This is Creed II. This sports drama film directed by Steven Caple Jr., and written by Juel Taylor and Sylvester Stallone. It is a sequel to Creed (2015) and the eighth installment in the Rocky film series. In 1985, Russian boxer Ivan Drago killed former U.S. champion Apollo Creed in a tragic match that stunned the world. Against the wishes of trainer Rocky Balboa, Apollo's son Adonis Johnson accepts a challenge from Drago's son - another dangerous fighter. Under guidance from Rocky, Adonis trains for the showdown of his life - a date with destiny that soon becomes his obsession. Now, Johnson and Balboa must confront their shared legacy as the past comes back to haunt each man.
In early January 2016, it was confirmed by Sylvester Stallone and Gary Barber, CEO of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures, that a sequel to Creed was in development. Although due to both Coogler and Jordan's involvement with Black Panther (2018), the film was delayed. Coogler would serve as executive producer. In July 2017, Stallone completed the script and announced Lundgren would be reprising his role as Drago. In October 2017, it was announced that Stallone would direct and produce the film. However, Stallone backed out of directing the film. Ultimately, in December 2017, it was reported that Steven Caple Jr. would instead direct the film with Tessa Thompson confirmed to reprise her role of Bianca, Creed's love interest. In January 2018, Romanian amateur boxer Florian Munteanu was cast in the film to play Drago's son. In March 2018, Phylicia Rashad, Wood Harris, and Andre Ward were confirmed to reprise their roles from the prior film. In the same moth, principal photography began in Philadelphia, lasting through July.
The film stars Jordan, Stallone, Thompson, Lundgren, Munteanu, Rashad, Harris, and Ward. The cast gave terrific performances that extended their characters logically and grippingly, preserving all the traits that made their characters work so well.
Creed II is a movie that dares you to root again for the ultimate underdog - and succeeds due to an infectiously powerful climax. In its boxing and training scenes, the film packs much of the punch its predecessor did, complete with an exciting pugilistic finale that has even more emotional weight than its predecessor. What is most remarkable about the film is that it recalls so many scenes from the Rocky films and its predecessor, and yet - amazingly - it works. Almost every bit of it. However, in an attempt to tell the new story - that of Adonis' adjustment to near-success and an attempt to live a non-boxing life - the plot tends to drag and the picture takes on a murky quality. The film has a waxy feeling, and it never comes to life the way its predecessor did. It slavishly repeats the plot of Creed and Rocky II achieving differentiation only in dubious forms: soap opera detours, delaying tactics and an ugly new mood of viciousness surrounding a rematch between the boxers.
Simon says Creed II receives:
Also, see my review for Creed.