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Review: Rousing 'Creed II' made with heart and conviction

Courtesy of MGM/New Line Cinema


“Creed II” follows the same blueprint of all previous boxing films before. And so it's hard to avoid being cliche and predictable when countless others have executed the same mission. But that doesn’t make them any less effective.

Michael B Jordan reclaims his title as Adonis Creed, the current heavyweight champion of the world. The main event draws parallels from 1985’s “Rocky IV” - the campy Cold War epic in which Sylvester Stallone’s thick accented boxer avenged the death of his love-hate rival Apollo Creed at the hands of Dolph Lundgren’s husky Russian machine Ivan Drago.

Now Creed is about to become a father himself (Tessa Thompson continues to elevate this series as his rock, Bianca, with the same warmth and clarity we saw with Talia Shire as Adrian; and Phylicia Rashad steals a few key moments as Creed’s omniscient mother). But before he can relish in parenthood, he needs to prove himself to his late father. Basically he has to settle an old score that comes from Drago’s escalator-of-a-son Viktor (Florian Munteanu).

Does this seem desperate? Perhaps. But Steven Caple Jr (taking over directing duties from “Black Panther” helmer Ryan Coogler) gives his film heart and conviction, making sure to complement the right touch of nostalgia with exhilarating boxing sequences. Building upon the solid foundation laid from previous installments. “Creed II” won’t sway anyone with its training montages and manipulative tactics, and it’s very much a “Rocky” sequel that doesn’t leave the same impact. But it’s a miracle that after eight films in the franchise, they can still pull the emotional punches regarding: fathers, redemption, loneliness, family - and somehow remain fresh.

Grade: B+

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