Creed II Movie Review - Rehashing Rocky IV
Creed had far more psychological depth playing as it did with legacy and self-worth issues while allowing Sylvester Stallone's Rocky Balboa to revisit Burgess Meredith's Mickey.
U/A: Drama, Sport
Director: Steven Caple Jr.
Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Phylicia Rashad
Sylvester Stallone, Sasha Stallone and Cheo Coker's attempts to fashion an African-American 'Rocky Balboa' story is commendable no doubt but the sameness becomes boring after a point. The attempt to reinvent the original template with a generational shift worked well in the first edition because of its 'origin' antecedents but this sequel just about makes a 'coloured' grab at 'Rocky IV' without indicating the significant transformations in the geopolitical scenario and that makes this entire essay largely predictable and humdrum.
Rocky Balboa(Sylvester Stallone) may have helped boxing phenom Adonis 'Donnie' Johnson( Michael B Jordan) win the World championships but when it comes to supporting him in the challenge from brutish pugilist Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), the son of Ivan Drago(Dolph Lundgren) -- the former Russian fighter who killed his father Apollo Creed in the ring years earlier – he takes a step back. But after Donnie recoups from the ruthless beating he receives from Viktor, he decides to fight him again and this time round Balboa is back in his corner.
While the basic storyline follows the 'Rocky IV' prototype -in which Rocky trains his friend Apollo Creed in a match against Drago, and when Apollo is killed in the ring during the match, vows to avenge his friend's death - the new director Steven Caple Jr. puts more onus on character shaping and mood building. There are overly long passages in the film where Creed's family centered issues with girlfriend-turned-wife, hearing impaired, musician, Bianca (Tessa Thompson) and mother( Phylicia Rashad) come to the fore. It's quite clear from the manner in which this narrative has been framed that stirring up nostalgia plays an integral part in generating attachment. The punchy face-staggering slo-mo action is relegated to segments in between.
Check out the trailer here:
Coogler's original merely alluded to "Rocky IV" as a shoo-up to a next-gen story. Director Steven Caple Jr.'s sequel though is practically a remake. Creed had far more psychological depth playing as it did with legacy and self-worth issues while allowing Stallone's Rocky Balboa to revisit Burgess Meredith's Mickey. This sequel though seems a little contrived and obvious in its attempts to cater to the fans.
The boxing scenes are functional and throw up brief paroxysms of entertainment, the music sounds good if not compelling and the camerawork is competent. The editing seemed a little indulgent but the sound direction was exemplary. Surprise cameos by actors from former Rocky films liven up the experience to some extent. The unadventurous emotional markup and the rehashed plot contrivances though manage to put a rather large dampener on the overall enjoyment here.
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