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Defending Champ

Saturday, December 01, 2018
By Deepa Gahlot

Creed II
Steven Caple Jr.
Cast: Michael B Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson, Dalph Lundgren and others
Rating: * * *

The 2015 film Creed, directed by Ryan Coogler was designed as a tribute to Rocky—one of Sylvester Stallone’s iconic movie characters, of the never-say-die boxer. There was potential for a sequel and here comes Creed II three years later, with Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone and Tessa Thompson returning for another round of the same hackneyed underdog rises tale, told with a a degree of ferocity that covers up for the fact that the formula has been reheated too many times.

In the earlier film, the legendary Rocky Balboa turned coach for Adonis Creed (Jordan), a young boxer with guts and ambition. Creed is the illegitimate son of Apollo Creed, Rocky’s opponent-turned-buddy in the earlier films. He wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps, so tracked down Rocky at his restaurant, and cajoled him to become his professional mentor. An ill Rocky whips his new charge into fighting shape and leads him to win the heavy-weight title.

In the sequel, a competitor emerges in the form of Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), who just happens to be the son of boxer Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), who had killed Creed's father in the ring in Rocky IV. Daddy Drago had then lost to Rocky Balboa and that was the end of his career. Both men have a big motive to fight it out in the ring. Familiar plot points play out exactly as the audience might expect—Creed getting battered once, the rematch and so on.

The parts about Creed’s family life are dull and put in there just so he gets a break from boxing all the time, or talking about it, as a result Tessa Thompson as his girlfriend turned wife turned mother of his child, has little to do in this film. Also, without some emotional heft, Creed would be all-muscle-no-heart like the Dragos.

Jordan looks sleek and chiseled and ticks all the action and acting boxes. If Hollywood has the stomach for more boxing matches, Jordan has the star quality for a couple of more spinoffs, but it seems that Rocky (Stallone) is finally giving up after eight rounds.

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