Creed 2  is the eighth installment of the Rocky franchise and the sequel to Creed, this time directed by Steven Caple Jr. In one corner we have Michael B. Jordan returning along with Sylvester Stallone and Tessa Thompson. In the other corner the return of Dolph Lundgren (DRAGOOOO!!!!) and Florian Munteanu (little baby Drago). The cast itself should be enough to illustrate the plot of the film if you are familiar with the history of the Rocky films. However, if not, then it should be known that Creed v Drago 2 is probably the cinematic boxing event of the year. But did it land all the punches?
Nostalgia: Rocky 4 remains one of the great spectacles of boxing films. America vs Russia. Revenge. Honor. Power. Training Montage! Creed 2 blasts the audiences back to that same blueprint. There really is no misstep from that path, though. And therefore this leaves the audience with a pile of nostalgia that although was a lot of fun, amounted to just about nothing in the end.
Diluted Direction: It is very clear an hour into the film that Steven Caple Jr. has not yet had a lot of experience with directing big Hollywood names and certainly no experience in having a hand in such a well-known film franchise. Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson should have this amazing on-screen chemistry, just as they had in the first film, but it is non-existent this time around. The same can be said for the scenes that Jordan and Stallone shared. The most heartbreaking negative impact of having Caple Jr. direct is the laughable fighting shots and cuts, which are jumpy and what is completely absent is the smooth yet damaging camera work that Ryan Coogler possessed in the first film.
Rewind Legacy: Creed 2 completely tears down the character development and legacy that Adonis (Jordan) built in the first film. Creed was about Adonis making a name for himself and proving to himself that he can be different than his father while also honoring him. Creed 2 is the same film, sadly. Which begs the question: why produce a script for a sequel that completely backhands the great work of the original? Creed was an amazing return to the Rocky universe and even an effort to develop its own world once Stallone leaves the franchise. But now, if there is a Creed 3, the films are set back an entire addition and you cannot help but think there is a lot of ground to make up. At the end of the day, Adonis is whiny and unappealing to the audience.
Creed v Drago: It is this simple: Creed 2 could have been an amazing film if the title was Drago. The story of Ivan and his son is touched on in just a few very short scenes that offer no real dialogue. However, these were the most fascinating moments of the movie. There is this backstory that is built for Ivan and how his life fell apart after the events of Rocky 4. Along with that, there is this desire to reinstate honor to Ivan from his son Viktor. Viktor Drago could carry his own film along with Ivan Drago, easily. With Adonis whining almost all throughout the story all I wanted was Viktor, brutish and determined to steal the spotlight of the whole story. Somewhere there is a great underground Russian boxing movie script with Viktor Drago as the hero. And we will never see it.