Director: Steven Caple Jr.
Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone, Tessa Thompson
Release Date: March 5, 2019
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8.5/10
Disc Rating: 8/10
Life has become a balancing act for Adonis Creed. Between personal obligations and training for his next big fight, he is up against the challenge of his life. Facing an opponent with ties to his family’s past only intensifies his impending battle in the ring. Rocky Balboa is there by his side through it all and, together, Rocky and Adonis will confront their shared legacy, question what’s worth fighting for, and discover that nothing’s more important than family. “Creed II” is about going back to basics to rediscover what made you a champion in the first place, and remembering that, no matter where you go, you can’t escape your history.
Please Note: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
‘Creed II’ continues the tale of Adonis Creed (Jordan) as his career begins to gain steam, leading him to the biggest fight of his life. But when his namesake is finally revealed and a dark shadow from his father’s past rises and offers a challenge that Creed cannot ignore, he finds himself preparing for the most important challenge of his life in more ways than one. Ready to take on the son of Victor Drago (Lundgren) who appears to be as threatening as his father was at his prime. With or without the help of the reliable Rocky Balboa (Stallone) by his side, Adonis will have to risk everything and truly give it his all if he hopes to accomplish the seemingly impossible and succeed where his father could not.
Directed this time around by Steven Caple Jr. (The Land) from a screenplay by Sylvester Stallone (writer of Rocky I-V & Rocky Balboa) and first time screenwriter Juel Taylor, which was based upon a story by Sascha Penn and Cheo Hodari Coker respectively, Caple Jr. does a spectacular job at the helm of ‘Creed II’ smoothly guiding along the tale with care every step of the way. The film also benefits a great deal from a solid cast that features numerous new and returning individuals to the Rocky/Creed saga including Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther), Sylvester Stallone (Rocky), Tessa Thompson (TV’s Westworld), Wood Harris (Ant-Man), Phylicia Rashad (TV’s Empire), Dolph Lundgren (Rocky IV) and many more, nearly all offering more than capable performances in each of their respective roles for the most part.
‘Creed II’ is a powerful and emotional sequel that builds upon the noteworthy first film in order to tell a compelling and incredibly personal story that’s always handled with the utmost care and loaded with heart and style. Easily matching its already impressive predecessor, ‘Creed II’ lands all of the right punches and if anything only surpasses the first film thanks not only to its familiarity and importance in the overall saga, but with how remarkably well it handles the tension and unease within. While not necessarily identical, the pattern also shares a great deal with the formula of ‘Rocky IV’ and at times it almost feels like you’re watching a loose remake of that film and a superior one at that with the absence of the various cheesy elements that often overloaded ‘Rocky IV’; which while enjoyable and memorable in their own right still undeniably detract from the power of the tale within. I wholeheartedly encourage all fans of the previous ‘Rocky’ films and the first ‘Creed’ to try and make a real point of checking this one out if you haven’t already had the pleasure. It’s a marvelous addition to the overall saga and a more than worthy sequel to ‘Creed’ that brings everything full circle for our new hero, as well as the old one. Any fan of these franchises won’t want to miss out on this outstanding new installment.
Overall, ‘Creed II’ is an outstanding follow-up to the already impressive ‘Creed’ and another noteworthy addition to the overall ‘Rocky’ saga; not to mention a rather spectacular film in its own right. An emotional and carefully crafted film that borrows elements from many other films in the franchise and only improves upon the majority of them in order to create something truly special that is certain to thrill fans. ‘Creed II’ is definitely highly recommended, particularly for fans of the ‘Rocky’ and/or ‘Creed’ franchises who are almost guaranteed to thoroughly appreciate this powerful and moving addition to the series. It should have no trouble whatsoever proving well worth the time and price of a rental for anyone that enjoyed the first film which it more than holds up with, if not surpasses.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Creed II’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks wonderful as a whole and provides a sharp, clean and detailed presentation from start to finish. It holds up impressively even during the various fast moving, darkly lit and heavily populated sequences throughout, never resulting in anything occurring onscreen becoming negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a fantastic high definition video presentation from Warner Bros. that delivers every step of the way and looks consistently great.
The Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This multichannel soundtrack delivers a crisp, clean and quite aggressive audio presentation throughout. It constantly takes advantage of all seven available channels in order to send crowds cheering and yelling, along with nature effects, bits of dialogue and more making its way throughout the various speakers with regularity, and never allowing any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a magnificent Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that contributes plenty of extra tension and heightened ambience to the viewing experience and shouldn’t disappoint in the slightest.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Creed II’ features a few noteworthy extras that fans of the franchise should enjoy. Included on the release are a few ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the movie (running approximately 10 minutes in length altogether), along with some Behind the Scenes Featurettes that explore bringing the film to life as well as celebrating the legacy of Rocky; featuring some interviews/comments with members of the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are: ‘Fathers and Sons’ (running approximately 7 minutes), ‘Casting Viktor Drago’ (approximately 6 minutes), ‘The Women of Creed II’ (6 minutes) and ‘The Rocky Legacy’ (15 minutes).