Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5. USA, 2018. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, New Line Cinema, Warner Bros., Chartoff-Winkler Productions. Story by Cheo Hodari Coker, Sascha Penn, Screenplay by Sylvester Stallone, Juel Taylor, based on characters created by Ryan Coogler. Cinematography by Kramer Morgenthau. Produced by William Chartoff, Sylvester Stallone, Kevin King Templeton, Charles Winkler, David Winkler, Irwin Winkler. Music by Ludwig Göransson. Production Design by Franco-Giacomo Carbone. Costume Design by Lizz Wolf. Film Editing by Dana E. Glauberman, Saira Haider, Paul Harb.
The success of Creed breathed new life into the Rocky franchise and inspired this eighth film in the series begun by Sylvester Stallone and John G. Avildsen in 1976. Having overcome his difficult childhood and found his path in the previous film, Adonis Creed (Michael B. Jordan) is adjusting to life as a successful boxer and settling into happiness with musician girlfriend Tessa Thompson. Still keeping up his training with Rocky Balboa (Stallone), who doles out as much advice as he does sparring instructions, Creed goes rogue when an opportunity comes up for a fight that his mentor believes he should avoid. Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren), who killed Adonis’ father Apollo in the ring four sequels ago, has brought his hulking behemoth of a son (Florian Munteanu) to North America to fight the son of his victim, looking to make up for having lost to Rocky in a revenge match following Apollo’s death. Adonis thinks it’s too personal to avoid, while Rocky thinks it’s too personal to be successful, and so our hero goes ahead on his own into grave danger before his older friend decides that he should step in and help out. Told with the same amount of style as Ryan Coogler’s original but only some of the substance, this one lets audiences down by not providing the sequel they want to Creed but the sequel to Rocky IV that they don’t need. Giving more screen time to Phylicia Rashad is always wonderful, and Munteanu makes for a formidable opponent, but getting through the stages of the easily predictable plot is a lackluster affair with only passable results.