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“Creed 2” is Terrific Addition to the Rocky Saga

2018 Rated PG

“Creed 2” is the sequel to the story of Apollo Creed’s son Adonis.  This is the 8th film of the Rocky saga.  The film is directed by Steven Caple Jr.  It stars Michael B. Jordan as Adonis Creed, Sylvester Stalone as Rocky, Phylicia Rashad as Adonis’ mother, Tessa Thompson as Bianca, Dolph Lundgren as Ivan Drago and newcomer Florian Munteanu as Viktor Drago. 

Last time we left Adonis Creed (Jordan) he lost a split decision to “Pretty” Ricky Conlan that mirrored the first Rocky versus Apollo fight from the original Rocky film.  Three years has passed since he won over the crowd and the respect of boxers everywhere.  Adonis has scored a series of impressive winson his way to win the WBC World Heavyweight Championship from Danny “Stuntman” Wheeler.  Adonis is “top of the boxing world.”  He begins to get the recognition he deserves and marries his long-time girlfriend Bianca (Thompson).  After a year of marriage, Bianca informs Adonis that she is pregnant.

Meanwhile, back in Russia, Ivan Drago (Lundgren) resurfaces with his Brutus son Viktor (Munteanu). Ivan Drago killed Adonis’ dad Apollo Creed thirty-three years earlier that led to Rocky challenging Drago in Russia to a non-sanctioned fight.  Rocky always blamed himself for not stopping the fight when he had the chance.  As we remember in Rocky IV, Rocky won the iconic USA versus USSR match but suffered brain damage and other physical ailments from the fight. “He broke things in me that ain’t never been fixed.” Ivan challenges Adonis to a fight with his son Viktor as only Ivan Drago can…..with intimidation and personal attacks. Adonis decides that he wants to accept the fight and avenge the death of his father.  “I got no choice,” Adonis pleads.  “That’s the same thing your father said and he died right here in my hands.”  Rocky thinks it is a bad idea and refuses to train or support Adonis if he fights. (Can you say Rocky versus Clubber Lang 1in Rocky III). “In the ring, you got rules. Outside, we got nothing.  Life hits you with all these cheap shots. People like me, we live in the past. You got people that need you now. You got Everything to lose.  This guy has got nothing to lose.”  “That kid was raised in hate.  He’s dangerous.”  

Ivan Drago lost his wife, respect, and country after his loss to Rocky.  He longs to show his non-believers that he is back through his son’s boxing success.  Ivan Drago shows up at Rocky’s restaurant and comments on all the pictures on the wall. “Why are there no pictures of us?”  Rocky responds “I don’t want any pictures….of That.”  He tells Drago that he wants no part in a Creed/Drago sons fight. “My son will break your boy.”  Drago smiles and leaves Rocky’s restaurant.  Adonis takes the fight with Viktor Drago and gets punished and ultimately knocked out.  Viktor is disqualified for hitting Adonis when he was down, so Creed maintains the Championship belt.  Just like the loss to Clubber Lang in Rocky III. Adonis like Rocky has lost his confidence and that “Eye of the Tiger” that Adonis’ father Apollo instilled in Rocky decades ago.  Adonis Creed has lost his purpose for fighting and the confidence to do so. 

Bianca gives birth to a baby girl who has unfortunately inherited the hearing degeneration that Bianca suffers from.  After Adonis’ mother (Phylicia Rashad) pleads with Rocky to help her son, Rocky decides to help.  He takes Adonis to “a place where fighters are reborn” to train for a rematch with the brutal Viktor Drago.  Viktor has taken the boxing world by storm since his first Creed fight and accepts the rematch with Creed.  Rocky teaches Adonis to learn to fight in a small space, ultimately training his body to accept the brutal punishment that Viktor Drago will unleash.  Rocky gets Adonis to realize what he is ultimately fighting for.  He instills in him that “Eye of the Tiger” that Apollo taught him years ago.  “Round after round, you learn more about yourself. And when I stepped in that ring, it wasn’t all about me.”

The films crescendo is seen in the final fight scene between Creed and Drago.  Has Creed done enough to prepare for the war that he is about to be a part of?  Adonis Creed fights for his father.  He fights for his trainer.  He fights for his new family.  He fights for redemption.  But does he fight to win?              

I love Rocky movies.  My favorite is Rocky III.  I love that it showed the human side of Rocky and how fallible he is. How it is ok to be afraid and how you can overcome it.  I remember watching Rocky IV with tears in my eyes after he defeats the unbeatable Russian Ivan Drago.  The training scenes in Rocky IV are iconic to this day.  Rocky is such an icon in pop culture that Philadelphia erected a statute of the fictional character before the real life iconic boxer, Philly born Joe Frazier.  Rocky has been elected to the Boxing Hall of Fame and never fought a real fight. Fifty percent of people asked who stopped the Cold War answer: Rocky Balboa because of the Rocky IV movie.

There are so many life lessons to list that are seen throughout the Rocky saga. “Creed 2” is no different.  This movie is about fathers and sons.  This movie is about redemption.  My father told me at an early age “Beware the man with nothing to lose.”  No truer words have ever been spoken.  This lesson was learned by Rocky in his first fight with Clubber Lang, and Adonis Creed in his first fight with Viktor Drago.  I love that all the Rocky movies flow together with the past coming to the forefront for the champions to learn from.  I love the fact that there are many similarities between past fights and the current ones.  I love that every movie has merooting for the underdog and have never disappointed me with the result. 

“Creed 2” is a terrific addition to the Rocky iconic film saga.  I give it a “two hands raised in the air” 3.5 out of 4 and a must see for all audiences.

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