In Credo II, the reasonably entertaining sequel of 2015 knockout Creed, Michael B. Jordan plays against a heavyweight champion who drives in his own car, stays immaculate on the streets of Philadelphia as he heads to his favorite place of Philadelphia beef and, in a moment of genuine despair, brings his baby. Daughter to the gym, where she recovers her previously lost will to fight. These are the types of dramatic gonzo touches you want in a boxing movie, especially in the follow-up of a movie as magnificently exuberant as Creed I was.
They are not enough. But at least they are something. Credo II, directed by Steven Caple Jr. (who made a previous movie, a 2016 skateboarding drama called The earth), he deviates sharply: he can spend a few hours looking at him and feeling little pain, apart from the occasional sympathetic spasm during the film's climactic fight sequence, at least semi-exciting. On this occasion, Adonis Johnson of Jordan, who, as you probably remember, is the illegitimate son of Adonis Creed, Rocky Balboa's last enemy, is positioning himself as the heavyweight champion, and decides to ask Bianca for Tessa Thompson become his wife (She says yes.) Then she accepts the challenge of a new and formidable enemy, Viktor Drago (played by heavyweight boxer Florian "Big Nasty" Munteanu), son of Ivan Drago (Dolph Lundgren). Elder Drago killed Adonis's father in the ring (as seen in the Rocky iv). Now, he is pushing his bad-tempered and sturdy child to follow his atrocious steps. Rocky (Sylvester Stallone), Young Adonis coach and surrogate father does not like the idea of buying a Creed-Drago ticket, but Adonis feels compelled to accept. He dismisses Rocky and retires to Los Angeles with Bianca to prepare for the big game.
That is not the hardest part. There are too many insignificant ideas, and too much plot, stuck in Credo II to turn it into the elegant power station that was its predecessor. There is a bit of nostalgia in seeing Lundgren again: Papa Drago is a severe and formidable robot, until he is not. He passes most of the barking orders from the film to his son, while supervising the child's training at home in the Ukraine. Silent and somber, Viktor shines with resentment while his father, who is also, apparently, his boss at work, yells things like: "When you're done, unload the cement" and "When I say faster, run faster" . Viktor diligently discharges the cement. Always obedient, run faster. Viktor, of Muneteanu, does everything he is asked, both by Drago and by Caple, and, without saying a word, paints a credible image of a strong and powerful guy who is not so secretly resentful of living under his father's thumb .
Drago the elder also plays cruel mental games with his son, telling him that his mother left them both because Viktor simply was not good enough. (When Brigitte Nielsen appears to repeat the role of Ludmilla Drago, she is an icicle in a dress, and you will be super happy that she is not you Mom.) Meanwhile, Adonis has all the love and support of the world: of Bianca, who is pursuing her musical career despite losing her hearing, of the woman who welcomed him and raised him as his own, Mary Anne by Phylicia Rashad. And, of course, Rocky. Observing Stallone in this role is like slipping on a pair of old shoes, so do not bother to untie the laces. He is as charming and fun as he should be, and he helps you.
Similarly, Jordan is also nice without effort, although unlike Stallone, he often has no shirt. His sculpted masculine beauty is not lost on Caple or cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau: they film the shiny surface of his chest with the proper reverence for the glory of the human form, although his camera is not above a silent visual whisper of "Day-um" from time to time. We are all of us, only humans.
The film, in general, has an attractive aspect, something good, because nobody needs an ugly boxing movie. And the final sequence of the fight has a brutal and elegant brilliance: when Viktor, the helpless child, becomes a dirty fighter, puts his fleshy fist in Adonis's ribcage, you feel the crunch of these fragile but important bones. Credo II It's a perfectly fine sequel. You can find some comfort in the predictability of their rhythms. But only at the end does it gather any real vitality. All the ribs that break along the way have been cured to perfection before you even left the theater.