Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
259 feature films. 19 days. 1 city. The 2019 Melbourne International Film Festival was a huge success - check out our reviews here!x
review, Creed II, Creed, II, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Tessa Thompson, Florian Munteanu, Phylicia Rashād, Wood Harris, John West Jr, Andre Ward, Raul Torres, Steven Caple Jr, Steven Caple Jr film rating

CREED II

★★★

NOT QUITE A KNOCKOUT

THEATRICAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Chris Edwards
26th November 2018

How do you follow up a perfect film?

Way back in 2015, Ryan Coogler’s ‘Creed’ came out of nowhere to be one of that year’s very best films. Much like any protagonist in every boxing film ever, it had the odds stacked against it – it was the seventh entry in a franchise that had long since become a punchline, with an indie director working for the first time in the studio system, starring a leading man who had never headlined a film of its size before, and a shift in perspective that many thought of as trite and nothing more than a cynical cash grab. But, somehow, it worked. Coogler brought nuance, social realism and a thrilling grasp of filmmaking craft to what should have been a ludicrous continuation of the ‘Rocky’ saga, and got career-best performances out of both the heart-stoppingly attractive Michael B. Jordan and the original star/creator of this whole shebang, Sylvester Stallone.

Which brings us back to the question – how do you follow up a perfect film? Well, for director Steven Caple Jr and ‘Creed II’, the answer seems to be by trying to recapture the glory of the predecessor, but without an understanding of what made that film work in the first place.

SWITCH: 'CREED II' TRAILER 2

By now it’s pretty basic to say it, but if anything, the film works best as a follow up to the original ‘Rocky’ series, with most of its plot picking up threads from 1985’s ‘Rocky IV’. Here, we see the return of that film’s villain Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), who has raised his son, Viktor (Florian Munteanu), with the express purpose of reclaiming their status amongst Russian boxing royalty (seriously) after his defeat at the hands of the Italian Stallion thirty years prior. That match was a way of avenging a past loss – as well as metaphorically winning the Cold War, as you do – after Drago was responsible for the death of Rocky’s rival-cum-friend Apollo Creed, absent father of our hero, Adonis "Creed" Johnson (Jordan - once again, so attractive). So, when the Drago’s travel from Russia to Philadelphia to issue a public challenge against Adonis, the now world heavyweight champion, it’s another chance for vengeance that the younger Creed just can’t turn down.

Except, maybe it should have been? The film’s main, glaring flaw is that Adonis’ motivation for actually taking the fight never quite adds up or gets elucidated to a satisfactory extent. He has so much to lose – Tessa Thompson returns as his partner, Bianca, and once again does magnificent work (even if the role feels thinner and not as well-written this time around) – but the movie is so caught up in the movie-mechanics of it all that it feels like his decisions are being made for him by the plot, rather than the other way around. Its annoyingly inelegant screenwriting, which is fine for the ‘Rocky’ films (which have always been the most masculine of soap operas), but feels incongruous after the deft weaving of melodrama and intimate humanity that Coogler and co-writer Aaron Covington brought to the previous ‘Creed’.

It is mildly underwhelming to see a follow-up to Coogler’s knockout that is instead only merely good.

However, Caple Jr is, thankfully, at least able to bring some handsome filmmaking to the mix. He crafts images that have a bronzed, burnished quality to them, and displays a flair for visual iconography that would have been sorely missed had it not been carried over into the sequel. The fight scenes, though not as thrillingly executed as cinematographer Maryse Alberti’s stunners from the original, are still muscular, visceral affairs, carried off with impressive sound design and reliably fantastic physical performances from Jordan in each one. But one can’t help but long for the far more intelligent filmmaking of Coogler, and how he was able to marry those visuals to a fascinating thematic interrogation of the very series the film was a continuation of.

‘Creed II’ may not be an outright disappointment, but it is mildly underwhelming to see a follow-up to Coogler’s knockout that is instead only merely good. Caple Jr and co. are able to craft an entertaining ride that carries you through entirely predictable beats – and I mean entirely, as every single moment of this film feels predetermined from minute one – but that’s just not enough to reach the heights we now know this series can ascend to. I came out of the theatre on a high, swept along on a tide of emotion that, upon further reflection, I don’t think the film fully earned. At least, not without the perfect film it, unfortunately, followed.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 29/11/2018
CAST: Michael B. Jordan
Sylvester Stallone
Dolph Lundgren
Tessa Thompson
Florian Munteanu
Phylicia Rashād
Wood Harris
John West Jr
Andre Ward
Raul Torres
DIRECTORS: Steven Caple Jr
Steven Caple Jr
PRODUCER: Sylvester Stallone
www.CreedTheMovie.com
CreedMovie
CreedMovie
CreedMovie
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Amazing Grace - A stunning moment from Aretha Franklin's life
TRENDINGWIN AMAZING GRACEA stunning moment from Aretha Franklin's life
The Nightingale - A dark, vengeful song
TRENDINGWIN THE NIGHTINGALEA dark, vengeful song
The Seer and the Unseen - Elves and environmentalism under the Northern Lights
TRENDINGTHE SEER AND THE UNSEENElves and environmentalism under the Northern Lights
The Australian Dream - The conversation Australia needs to have
TRENDINGTHE AUSTRALIAN DREAMThe conversation Australia needs to have
Danger Close: The Battle of Long Tan - Close to home
TRENDINGDANGER CLOSE: THE BATTLE OF LONG TANClose to home
Portrait of a Lady on Fire - A perfect film on the language of desire
TRENDINGPORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIREA perfect film on the language of desire
Double Lover - Softcore pornography for cinephiles
TRENDINGDOUBLE LOVERSoftcore pornography for cinephiles
The Keeper - The true story of the Nazi goalkeeper and the English girl
TRENDINGTHE KEEPERThe true story of the Nazi goalkeeper and the English girl
Take Me Somewhere Nice - The road less travelled
TRENDINGTAKE ME SOMEWHERE NICEThe road less travelled
And Then We Danced - A passionate and remarkable classic in the making
TRENDINGAND THEN WE DANCEDA passionate and remarkable classic in the making
The Day Shall Come - A hilarious take on a flawed system
TRENDINGTHE DAY SHALL COMEA hilarious take on a flawed system
Parasite - A bloodthirsty and very funny look at class warfare
TRENDINGPARASITEA bloodthirsty and very funny look at class warfare
2040 - A hopeful look into our environmental future
TRENDING2040A hopeful look into our environmental future
Rampant - Ho-hum historical Korean zombie thrills
TRENDINGRAMPANTHo-hum historical Korean zombie thrills
Fast & Furious: Hobbs & Shaw - Very furious, not so fast
TRENDINGFAST & FURIOUS: HOBBS & SHAWVery furious, not so fast
The Final Quarter - Tackling a shameful chapter in AFL history
TRENDINGTHE FINAL QUARTERTackling a shameful chapter in AFL history
Standing Up For Sunny - A comedy without the comedy but very sweet
TRENDINGSTANDING UP FOR SUNNYA comedy without the comedy but very sweet
Claire Darling - A French film fail
TRENDINGCLAIRE DARLINGA French film fail
The Odd Family: Zombie on Sale - An extremely silly zomedy
TRENDINGTHE ODD FAMILY: ZOMBIE ON SALEAn extremely silly zomedy
The Angry Birds Movie 2 - Flying a little bit higher the second time around
TRENDINGTHE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE 2Flying a little bit higher the second time around
© 2011 - 2019 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us