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Byron Shire
February 25, 2021

Cinema Review: Creed II

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Creed II

The first Creed (2016) took everyone by surprise – or me, at least – because it revealed what a fine actor Sylvester Stallone could be. Who knew? Its sequel is more of the same, with Sly again earning bouquets for his portrayal of the elderly Rocky Balboa, now the owner of a pizza joint in Philadelphia. Adonis Creed (Michael B Jordan), son of Apollo (killed in the ring in Rocky IV), is back as the reigning WBC heavyweight champ. He takes a hiding at the hands of gargantuan Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), son of the bloke who killed Apollo – sounds a bit incestuous, doesn’t it – and the Big Fight to which everything builds features the pair going hammer and tong in a title bout in Moscow. You either like boxing flicks or you don’t. I do, but was pleased to find that there is also a lot more cheesy family/love/friendship stuff layered on top of the choreographed pugilism. Adonis’s partner (Tessa Thompson) has a baby – the scene in which the newborn is tested for a hereditary hearing deficiency is really touching; Rocky needs to find rapprochement with his estranged son Robert; and there is even a forgiving sentimentality shown towards the scowling Viktor, whose brutality has been fuelled by a resentful father (Dolph Lundgren) and having been abandoned by his mother. Filmmakers are generally unable to resist excessive violence when boxing is the subject and director Steve Caple Jr is no exception to the rule. No fighter could absorb the number of blows to the head over ten rounds that both men cop (did anybody see Anthony Mundine hit the canvas after just 96 seconds the other night?), nor do many fighters bleed as much as Creed and Drago do, but that’s what the punters crave, so ‘give them what they want’ is Hollywood’s creed. Honour is something of an outdated concept but, as in all films about ‘the sweet science’, there is a mountain of it in this. And it worked for me.

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