In what is said to be Sylvester Stallone’s last run as Rocky Balboa (we have all heard that before), Michael B. Jordan is back in the ring as Adonis Creed in his quest for boxing immortality. But he is not alone in his return. Creed II brings back fan favorite Ivan Drago from Rocky IV, the man who killed Adonis’ father, and introduces his son Viktor Drago into the mix. That alone is worth the price of admission.
Florian Monteanu is cast perfectly as Viktor Drago. He is a mountain of a man. Very few people in this world could even come close to making Michael B. Jordan’s physique look small. Finally the Rocky Series has come back to the legendary intimidating opponents of the past. Apollo Creed, Clubber Lang, Thunderlips, Ivan Drago, and even Tommy “The Machine” Gunn all looked like a threat to Rocky. Mason Dixon, Ricky Conlan, and Donnie Wheeler may have been “real” boxers, but they never passed the eye test and are all forgettable antagonists. Their movies excel despite them. At 6’4″ and weighing in at 240 lbs., Viktor Drago captures the same awe-inspiring moments as his father. This guy looks like he could repeat history and kill Creed in the ring. Sitting in the theater, you can feel it when he lands his devastating blows into his opponents. It is awesome!
Creed II could have been easily turned into a movie called Drago. That would have been a very bold and interesting take, and all the components were there to make that happen. I love everything Michael B. Jordan does on screen, but in hindsight I would have been in full support of that choice. I was surprised how well developed the Dragos were with such little screen time.
Nearly all of the supporting cast of Creed is back for Creed II as well. Every single one of them turns in another stellar performance. There is a lot going on in this movie. If there is a criticism to be had, it is that. It is difficult to give weight and feeling to a situation when you are bouncing from one issue to another. While it is not distracting, a more focused direction could have been more beneficial. If you are a fan of the Rocky Series, Creed II does not disappoint. I am looking forward to the next 6 installments!