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Wick's Review

Created Dec 08, 2018 09:29PM PST • Edited Dec 17, 2018 03:39AM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Very Good 3.5

    Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky franchise lives on, now centered on a new generation and an African-American hero. This all works and provides a dose of social relevance, making Creed II a solid entrant in the Rocky canon. It’s also a better than average boxing movie, largely because it follows the Rocky formula to a tee.

    That formula – nice guy fighter gets savagely beaten as his sympathetic loved-ones stand behind him, after which he trains for a comeback that he wins in stirring fashion – proves especially durable in the hands of writer-director Ryan Coogler. Coogler has mastered another of Stallone’s tricks, delivering an unfailingly personal film even though its events and extremely formulaic storyline are hyped beyond all reason.

    This second in the Creed era of Rocky movies is leavened by older characters with resonant backstories. Some even transcend into reality-based pop culture. Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky Balboa is legend #1, followed by Dolph Lundgren’s Ivan Drago from Rocky IV and Phylicia Rashad from Creed I. Brigitte Nielsen was also in Rocky IV, but looms larger due to her spectacularly dysfunctional marriage to Stallone.

    Creed II isn’t a great movie, but is a damn good one. Old Rocky and young Creed form an affecting father-son duo (also part of the Rocky formula). Let’s hope they keep answering the bell for many more rounds.

  3. Great 4.0

    Michael B. Jordan ain’t no Sly Stallone when it comes to moviestar charisma, but is a plenty capable as his successor. That said, Jordan is an established and welcome moviestar, with Adonis Creed proving he can carry a big-time series. Just a year ago, he proved he could also be an intriguing bad-guy in Black Panther.

    Sylvester Stallone is actually just a supporting actor as Rocky Balboa. But the old palooka still has it: rough hewn wisdom, kind of an idiot savant for life. His avuncular scenes with young Jordan are a treasure.

    • Tessa Thompson is intriguing as Creed’s wife. She first jumped offscreen in Thor: Ragnarok.
    • Dolph Lundgren’s reprise as an aged Ivan Drago is downright affecting, an amazing turn of events for a once unsympathetic and cartoonish character.
    • Florian Munteanu is little more than a meathead as his son Viktor Drago.
    • Phylicia Rashad retains her tart charisma, first demonstrated as Mrs. Cosby on The Cosby Show all those decades ago, here the mother of a new champ.
    Bit Parts
    • Wood Harris as Tony “Little Duke” Evers
    • Brigitte Nielsen as Ludmila Drago
    • Russell Hornsby as Buddy Marcelle
    • Andre Ward as Danny “Stuntman” Wheeler
    • Milo Ventimiglia as Robert Balboa
    • Archive footage of Carl Weathers as Apollo Creed
    Cameos
    • Michael Buffer: ready to rumble
    • Jim Lampley at ringside
    • Max Kellerman pontificating
    • Scott Van Pelt and Linda Cohn on Sportscenter
  4. Male Stars Great 4.0
  5. Female Stars Great 4.0
  6. Female Costars Great 4.0
  7. Male Costars Perfect 5.0
  8. Very Good 3.5

    Stallone’s Rocky formula shows no signs of aging, even as boxing ain’t what it used to be and the Italian Stallion has been usurped by an African-American successor. Ryan Coogler gets much of the credit for this, no surprise from the writer-director of Fruitvale Station & Black Panther.

  9. Direction Very Good 3.5
  10. Play Very Good 3.5
  11. Music Great 4.0

    Tasteful and therefore great use of Gonna Fly Now, the Rocky Theme.

  12. Visuals Very Good 3.5
  13. Content
  14. Risqué 1.9
  15. Sex Innocent 1.5
  16. Violence Fierce 2.5
  17. Rudeness Salty 1.6
  18. Glib 1.7
  19. Circumstantial Surreal 2.3
  20. Biological Glib 1.8
  21. Physical Natural 1.0

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